Standards and Recommended Practices (also known as SARPs) and Procedures for Air Navigation (also known as PANS) are the basic elements that complement the ICAO Chicago Convention. SARPs can be found in the 19 Annexes to the Chicago Convention and they are supplemented by 6 Procedures for Air Navigation :
- PANS-ABC (Abbreviations and Codes)
- PANS-AERO (Aerodromes)
- PANS-AIM (Information Management)
- PANS-ATM (Air Traffic Management)
- PANS-OPS (Aircraft Operations)
- PANS-TRG (Training)
SARPs and PANS are fundamental for all stakeholders from the aviation world (States and Industry) since they are the cornerstone of international harmonization of practices in terms of safety and efficiency, both at the airport and in the sky. A global harmonization can only happen if States implement these SARPS and PANS; they are essential to an adequate performance of the air navigation system and to a safe, orderly and efficient flow of air traffic. ICAO Annexes and PANS contain nowadays over 12,000 SARPs, which are constantly maintained and evolved to suport the latest developments and innovations in the aviation field. This work is done mainly through the ICAO ANC Panels.
The development and further amendment of SARPs and PANS is done in an extremely structured way, which allows for maximum transparency for all ICAO stakeholders. The process is constituted of many steps, often referred to as the “amendment process” or “standards-making process”.
This mechanism involves a large number of technical experts (some of them are nominated by and represent IFATCA), both from within ICAO, Member States and International Organizations.
In a nutshell, it takes more or less two years for the beginning of the process, where an initial proposal recommends either a new standard, recommended practice or procedure, or an amendment to an existing one, to be oficially adopted or approved for inclusion in an Annex or a PANS. Sometimes, the time required needs to be expanded while some urgent circumstances dictate an accelerated process for other items: it all depends on the nature and priority of the proposal being considered.