The 70th anniversary


In 1944, delegates from 54 nations gathered in the Grand Ballroom of the Stevens Hotel in Chicago at the invitation of the United States of America. At this event, the participants concluded and signed the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known more popularly as the Chicago Convention, the defining international agreement which has since permitted the global civil aviation system to develop peacefully and in a manner benefitting all peoples and nations of the world. Since ICAO’s inception, aviation has become a linchpin of human activity and socio-economic development.


Year 2014 commemorated the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Chicago Convention, whereas at the same time, the beginning of commercial aviation is celebrated. The dream of flying goes back to the ancient world, from the mythological flights of Icarus and Daedalus, even though the first heavier-than-air flight did not occur until 1903. Over the past 111 years, and especially since the dawn of commercial aviation in 1914, humankind has managed to make huge steps in aviation. From what was originally an expensive, for-adventurers pursuit, flying has now become accessible to an ordinary person. Without aviation, the world would be a completely different place. The air transport industry has become a key component in the globalization of the world, with airlines regularly traveling across national borders transporting people and cargo.


In 2014, ICAO and the global air transport community commemorated this momentous occasion by convening a series of special events in Montréal and Chicago. Featuring high-level participation from the host governments of Canada and the United States of America, and representatives from ICAO’s Council and Member States, these proceedings culminated in an Extraordinary Session of the ICAO Council on Monday 8 December 2014, in the exact same room where the Convention was signed in the Stevens Hotel (now the Chicago Hilton) 70 years ago. On this occasion, ICAO Council Representatives adopted a Special Resolution paying tribute to the Chicago Convention’s significant contributions to global peace and prosperity through the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation.


This anniversary provided a unique occasion to issue new stamps highlighting aircraft, art works, events or personalities connected with international civil aviation, incorporating ICAO’s emblem with the dates 1944-2014.


70th Anniversary Logo

The date of 7 December 2014 also marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the International Civil Aviation Day. The purpose of this global celebration is to generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation in the social and economic development of States, and of the role of ICAO in promoting the safety, efficiency, and regularity of international air transport. Celebrating 70 Years of the Chicago Convention was the theme of 2014 International Civil Aviation Day (ICAD).


The two new stamp issues related to the 70th anniversary of ICAO are listed at the following link: 70th Anniversary of ICAO. To view all prior stamp issues related to ICAO, click on the following link: Stamp issues related to ICAO.


On 10 September 2012, ICAO issued an Electronic Bulletin titled: “COMMEMORATIVE STAMPS FOR THE 70th ANNIVERSARY OF ICAO”, drawing the attention of the Contracting States to issue postage stamps connected with international civil aviation to celebrate this event.


Electronic Bulletin EB 2012/43 related to ICAO’s 70th anniversary


On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Chicago Convention (i.e. 7 December 2014), a special souvenir envelope was issued by ICAO Staff Association. The cachet/design shows ICAO’s 70th anniversary emblem and a reproduction of a picture taken on 1 November 1944 during the Finale of the Opening Session of the Chicago Conference in the Grand Ballroom of the Stevens Hotel at Chicago. Led by the Chairman of the Conference, Adolf A. Berle, Jr., the Delegates stand to sing the national anthem of the United States. The flags of 52 participating nations are shown just behind the main stage. The postmark was designed in cooperation with Canada Post Corporation. The postage stamp was issued on 31 March 2014 to celebrate Canada’s natural treasures with a set of the 5 Permanent domestic stamps of a multi-year UNESCO World Heritage sites stamp series.


Special souvenir cover prepared by ICAO’s Staff Association for the 70th anniversary of ICAO.

Celebrating 70 Years of the Chicago Convention was the theme of 2014 International Civil Aviation Day (ICAD).


Excerpt from The Journal of UN Philatelists, Vol. 39 #1, February 2015.


It is to be highlighted that the reproduction of the picture taken in the Grand Ballroom on 1 November 1944 (see here above at the right-side) is actually a mirror image of the original picture in black-and-white shown hereafter.


1 November 1944 – Finale of the Opening Session of the Chicago Conference in the Grand Ballroom of the Stevens Hotel, Chicago. The representatives of the 52 participating nations stand to sing the Star-Spangled Banner (the national anthem of the United States), led by the Chairman of the Conference, Adolf A. Berle, Jr.


On the occasion of its 70th anniversary, ICAO requested the Banknote Printing and Minting Works of the National Bank of Ukraine to mint 1000 medals commemorating this landmark diplomatic event in ICAO’s history. The hologram on the back was produced by Specialized Enterprise Holography Ltd, a highly technological manufacture of security holograms established in Ukraine.


Metal: 925 Ag

Weight in fineness: 62,2 g

Diameter: 50 mm

Quality: Proof

Edge: Plain

Year of Issue 2014


Following the adoption of a resolution by the Board of Directors of the Montreal Transit Corporation (STM) on 2 April 2014, the name of the metro station Square-Victoria was changed to Square-Victoria-ICAO. Due to the presence of the International Civil Aviation Organization, Montréal has become a major hub of civil aviation, a highly significant status for a metropolis with a well-developed industry. To mark the beginning of Montréal activities surrounding the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Chicago Convention and the establishment of the International Civil Aviation Organization, the City of Montréal and the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) announced on 14 November 2014 the official renaming of Metro Station Square-Victoria to Metro Station Square-Victoria-OACI; a commemorative plaque marking the importance of ICAO’s presence in Montréal was unveiled during the ceremony.


A commemorative plaque noting the change of the metro station is displayed inside the station Square-Victoria-OACI, right after passing the turnstiles.



The Emirate of Dubai (part of the United Arab Emirates, UAE) issued a set of 3 stamps and a related first day cover, both released on 7 December 2014 to highlight Civil Aviation’s History in Dubai during a first-day ceremony coinciding exactly with the 70th anniversary of the signature of the Chicago Convention and the 20th anniversary of the International Civil Aviation Day. Significant events are reflected in the themes of these special postage stamps released by the Emirates Post (Empost), in collaboration with the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA). The stamps celebrate Dubai’s inspiring civil aviation growth and development since 1937, when it became the first in the world to pursue what is now known as Open Skies policy as a result of signing the Dubai Commercial Air Agreement. The UAE is a Member State of ICAO since 25 April 1972.

These postal stamps reflect the significant developments that took place during the three eras that converged the wonderful journey of civil aviation in Dubai from the creek leading towards establishing a twin-airport city and taking its airlines, Emirates and Flydubai, to greater heights besides other areas of the aviation industry. In addition to the release of the postal stamps, Dubai paid tribute to the drafters of the Chicago Convention, the International Civil Aviation Organization and its officials and to all the States for their contribution towards the development of international civil aviation for the benefit of the people and to preserve friendship and understanding amongst nations. During this occasion, DCAA also released a special edition of its monthly bilingual newsletter, Via Dubai dedicated to the 70th Anniversary of the Chicago Convention.


7 December 2014 - First Day Ceremony held at Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House in Shindagha, Dubai. Photo: DCAA.


7 December 2014 - First Day Ceremony held at Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House in Shindagha, Dubai.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum (President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, DCAA, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and GroupChairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group) and Mohammed Abdullah Ahli (Director-general of DCAA) unveiling the stamps and first day cover – Photo: DCAA.


Stamp issue shown on a clear glass plaque with horizontal base – Photo: Bernard Pelsser.



The plaque shown here-above was nicely wrapped in white deluxe box with the emblem of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority surrounded by a golden frame.



First day cover (Front and back). 1000 copies were printed.


United Arab Emirates – 7 December 2014 – History of Civil Aviation in the Emirate of Dubai. This issue commemorates several major civil aviation events in Dubai:



1. The signature of the Commercial Air Agreement on 22 July 1937 (see upper stamp). Signed by Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum (pictured on the stamp), this agreement between Dubai and Great Britain was considered to be the first liberal, open skies agreement to be signed by any two countries in the world, thus starting civil aviation in Dubai with a flying boat base for the aircraft of Imperial Airways (Aircraft shown on the stamp: Imperial Airways Short S.23 Empire).

2. Signed by Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum (pictured on the stamp), the decree dated 18 March 1971 established the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation (see stamp in the middle) to handle all matters relating to airport operations – including granting traffic rights and operating permissions – within one authority, providing the cohesive direction that has marked the progress of aviation in Dubai ever since. The stamp shows various stages of Dubai International Airport: opened in 1960 (left), 1969 (middle), and 1980 (right).

3. The Dubai Duty Free (DDF) opened for business on 20 December 1983 (see lower stamp). In addition to the picture of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rachid Al Maktoum, this stamp shows Al Maktoum International Airport opened on 27 June 2010 in the main part of Dubai World Central, and two aircraft: an Airbus A380 from Emirates airline and a Boeing 737-800 NextGen from FlyDubai airline. FlyDubai was established as Dubai’s first low-cost airline on 1 June 2009.



The December 2014 issue of Via Dubai magazine was devoted to the commemoration of ICAO’s 70th anniversary. The above pictures show the front and page 11 of this issue.


Dubai – 7 December 2014 – Philatelic notice.


In December 2014, China released a postal stationery card (stamped) related to the 70th anniversary of ICAO, with number JP196. In 2014, China’s Post Office issued a total of 14 postal cards (JP183-JP196) and 4 postal envelopes (JF112-JF115). For reference purposes, JF3 postal envelope was released by China on 7 December 1984 for the 40th anniversary of ICAO (see details at the following link: The 40th Anniversary).


Postal card issued by China for the 70th anniversary of ICAO.

Under the digit 0, one can notice two representations of Chinese tradition and culture: Huabiao and Auspicious Clouds.

Huabiao () is a type of ceremonial column used in traditional Chinese architecture and is traditionally erected in front of palaces and tombs. The prominence of their placement has made them one of the emblems of traditional Chinese culture. The pair of ancient sculpted marble pillars on either side of the Tiananmen Gate is a prominent example of huabiao erected in the Ming dynasty in the 15th century. The red color symbolizes the communist revolution and is also the traditional color in Chinese culture.

The cloud pattern is the unique symbol of Chinese culture. Clouds, sometimes referred to as "auspicious clouds" (xiangyun 祥云), represent the heavens and also "good luck", because the Chinese word for cloud (yun ) is pronounced the same as yun () meaning "luck" or "fortune". Its form often resembles the auspicious shape of the lingzhi (fungus of immortality). The clouds are so close to the sky and always associated with gods so that they ignite people's wild imagination; people in ancient China regarded clouds as a symbol of luck and promotion, as well as a creation of the heaven. That is why they represent the meaning of holiness, good luck, happiness, harmony, and wishes for a better life. The design of some China’s airlines emblems draws inspiration from the lucky clouds motif.


Card with cancel related to the first day of issue (i.e. 7 December 2014).

In the lower part of the cancel, one can read China (中国) and Beijing (北京) on the left and right sides of the date 2014.12.7.


Circulated card.



Extraordinary Session of the ICAO Council held in Chicago on 8 December 2014, in the very same Ballroom in the now Chicago Hilton (formerly the Stevens Hotel) where the Convention on International Civil Aviation was signed 70 years earlier.

With the participation of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and many other dignitaries.



A commemorative plaque was unveiled during the Extraordinary Session of the ICAO Council held in Chicago on 8 December 2014. This plaque can now be seen in the ICAO Museum (see 2nd picture).


First Day Cover commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Entry into Force of the Chicago Convention on 4 April 2017.

The History of Flight tapestry with half cross stitch in colored wool was woven in 1963 by Gilka Blécu Geoffray at the Gobelins manufacture.

It is based on a cartoon by Jacques Villon (1875-1963) who derived the composition from four pictures painted in 1939-1940 by Albert Gleizes (1881-1953). In 1960, the French Painter Albert Voisin (also named Vanber, 1905-1994) was charged by Gleize’s spouse to create the tapestry box for the Gobelins manufacture.

Portrayed are four persons of legend and history connected with flight: Leonardo da Vinci, Aladdin, Sinbad and Icarus. Signed at the lower-right: Gleizes – Gilka / Wander. Size: 140x430cm.

It was offered in 1975 by France to ICAO and is now exhibited at Headquarters, Montréal in the Conference Center. The Gobelins factory wove a second copy, which supposedly is at the Rochefort Air Force School.