Annex 14 – Aerodromes


Developed by ICAO, the International Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) contained in the nineteen Technical Annexes to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (also called Chicago Convention) are applied universally and produce a high degree of technical uniformity which has enabled international civil aviation to develop in a safe, orderly and efficient manner.


Aerodromes are one of the most important links in the civil aviation network. They are the key interface between the passengers and the aircraft, and the location where every flight begins and ends. Airports are a fundamental component of every State’s socio-economic well-being. They serve several purposes, from connecting people and business to serving as the main port of entry for disaster recovery, and as such, the safety of aerodrome infrastructure and operations is fundamental to the public’s continued trust in air transport.


Further to the Third and Fourth Sessions of the Aerodromes, Air Routes and Ground Aids Division (held in September 1947 and in November 1949 respectively), the Standards and Recommended Practices for Aerodromes were first adopted by the ICAO Council on 29 May 1951 Council pursuant to the provision of Article 37 of the Chicago Convention and designated as Annex 14 to the Convention with 61 pages at that time.


From 9 March 1990, Annex 14 was issued in two volumes as follows:

  1. Volume I: Aerodrome Design and Operations;
  2. Volume II: Heliports.


Typical runway sign, as specified in Annex 14, Volume I, Chapter 5 (Visual Aids for Navigation)


Volume I contains specifications that prescribe the physical characteristics and obstacle limitation surfaces to be provided at aerodromes, and certain facilities and technical services normally provided at an aerodrome. The heart of the airport is the vast movement area extending from the runway, along the taxiways and onto the apron; these facilities are the building blocks for airports which define its over-all shape and size and permit engineers to lay out the skeleton that forms the airport’s basic structure. Along with defining the ground environment of airports, specifications are also required to define its airspace which must be free from obstacles in order to approach and depart safely from the airports. One section of Annex 14, Volume I is devoted to improving the safety of equipment at airports; of critical importance to the operation of any airport are the rescue and fire fighting services.


Provisions specifically for heliports are included in Volume II of Annex 14, i.e. Standards and Recommended Practices covering all aspects for heliport planning, design and operations. They were adopted further to the Fourth Meeting of the Helicopter Operations Panel (HELIOPS/4), the Eleventh Meeting of the ANC Visual Aids Panel (1987), and assistance from the ICAO Secretariat.


Annex 14, Volume II, contains Standards and Recommended Practices (specifications) that prescribe the physical characteristics and obstacle limitation surfaces to be provided for at heliports, and certain facilities and technical services normally provided at a heliport. It is not intended that these specifications limit or regulate the operation of an aircraft. When designing a heliport, the critical design helicopter, having the largest set of dimensions and the greatest maximum take-off mass (MTOM) the heliport is intended to serve, would need to be considered. It is to be noted that provisions for helicopter flight operations are contained in Annex 6, Part III.


Heliport Manual (Doc9261)

ICAO issued many publications related to the specifications of Annex 14, such as: Aerodrome Design Manual, Airport Services Manual, Airport Planning Manual, Heliport Manual (Doc 9261), Manual on Certification of Aerodromes, Manual on the ICAO Bird Strike Information System, etc.


The Heliport Manual provides guidance for the implementation of the Annex 14 - Aerodromes, Volume II - Heliports. The manual consists of two parts: Part I addresses design and operations for heliports at a range of offshore installations and vessels; and Part Il provides guidance for heliport design and operations in the onshore environment.


Accidents and incidents between aircraft and wildlife, and more specifically with birds, have been documented since the dawn of aviation. While piloting his aeroplane on 7 September 1905, Orville Wright had what is believed to be the first collision between an aircraft and a bird, now known as a bird strike. The attention of the international community was drawn to the need for developing detailed airworthiness requirements to enable aircraft to withstand bird strikes in the early 1960s, since several deadly accidents due to bird strikes occurred. The ICAO Air navigation Commission agreed that studies regarding the reduction of bird hazards on aerodromes should be disseminated. The impact of birds on aerodromes received fairly consistent attention and was discussed in two global meetings at that time: the Seventh Session of the Aerodromes, Air Routes and Ground Aids Division (1962) and the Fifth Air Navigation Conference (1967).

To share a common understanding, ICAO started collecting bird strike data as early as 1965 and introduced a reporting system named IBIS (ICAO Bird Strike Information System). ICAO requested Member States to report all bird strikes to aircrafts, with the introduction of a Bird Strike Reporting Form in November 1979. This reporting system has evolved and now includes reporting for all wildlife strikes. In September 1969, Amendment 23 to Annex 14 - Aerodromes to the Chicago convention, recommended that the competent authorities take action to decrease the number of birds representing a hazard to aeroplanes, on or in the vicinity of aerodromes. The initials recommendations on bird control on, or in the vicinity of, an aerodrome have further been upgraded to Standards in 2003.


ICAO is currently revising the Procedures for Air Navigation Services (PANS) - Aerodromes (Doc 9981) document, initially developed to complement the standards and recommended practices contained in Annex 14, Volume 1 with the objective of developing procedures for the management of aerodrome operational issues, which is expected to be applicable later. The procedures will detail particular provisions for the establishment of a wildlife hazard management programme (WHMP) at aerodromes.


It is fundamental for States to ensure safe, resilient and efficient aerodrome operations throughout its territories, and a proven and effective way to do so is through aerodrome certification. For airport safety stakeholders, however, whether regulatory or operational, it’s well-established that one of the biggest challenges they face is to fully comply with the international Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) on aerodromes as published by ICAO. This is especially challenging for airport facilities that were built decades ago, even before the first edition of Annex 14 published (in 1951, at the onset of the jet age). With global and regional air traffic continuously growing, the importance of new airport projects to manage future capacity, and the certification of existing facilities, remain key regional priorities.


In summary, in addition to the prescription of the physical characteristics and obstacle limitation surfaces to be provided for at aerodromes, and certain facilities and technical services normally provided at an aerodrome, Volume I of this Annex contains specifications dealing with obstacles outside those limitation surfaces. It is not intended that these specifications limit or regulate the operation of an aircraft. To a great extent, the specifications for individual facilities detailed in Annex 14, Volume I, have been interrelated by a reference code system, described in this chapter, and by the designation of the type of runway for which they are to be provided, as specified in the definitions. This not only simplifies the reading of Volume I of this Annex, but in most cases, provides for efficiently proportioned aerodromes when the specifications are followed. This document sets forth the minimum aerodrome specifications for aircraft which have the characteristics of those which are currently operating or for similar aircraft that are planned for introduction. Accordingly, any additional safeguards that might be considered appropriate to provide for more demanding aircraft are not considered. Such matters are left to appropriate authorities to evaluate and consider as necessary for each particular aerodrome. Provisions for the accommodation of more demanding aircraft at existing aerodromes can be found in the PANS-Aerodromes (Doc 9981). Guidance on some possible effects of future aircraft on these specifications is given in the Aerodrome Design Manual (Doc 9157), Part 2.


The following issues selected from the ICAO philatelic collection show a relationship with aerodromes, whether runways, or recue and fire fighting equipment (according to Annex 14, Chapter 9, Section 2). An airport crash tender (known in some countries as an airport fire appliance) is a specialized fire engine designed for use in aircraft rescue and firefighting at aerodromes. ICAO has defined standards and recommended practices on rescue firefighting categories of civil aerodromes. For this purpose, airports are classified by Annex 14 into 10 categories depending on the number of movements of the airplanes, the overall length and fuselage width of aircraft using the airport; the level of protection (in terms of extinguishing agents, rescue equipment, response time, fire stations, communication and alerting systems, personnel, etc.) is defined accordingly in Annex 14.



Gabon - 20th Anniversary of ICAO – 19 May 1967

Airlines and flight paths/runways; ICAO emblem.

This stamp shows an error: "de l'" is missing in the French name of the Organization, which should be written Organisation de l’aviation civile internationale.



Libya - 40th Anniversary of ICAO – 7 December 1984

Sheet of 16 stamps (4x4), the backgrounds of the stamps forming an overall design of a runway.


Botswana - 50th Anniversary of ICAO – 30 June 1994

Chubb Protector airport crash tender; ICAO 50th anniversary logo.


Swaziland - 50th Anniversary of ICAO – 30 November 1994

Air rescue service (airport crash tenders); ICAO 50th anniversary logo.


Nauru - 50th Anniversary of ICAO – 14 December 1994

Fire engines (airport crash tenders) at Nauru International Airport; 50th anniversary logo; Air Nauru Boeing 737.


Maldives - 50th Anniversary of ICAO – 31 December 1994

Main runway at the Male International Airport, Maldives; 50th anniversary logo.


Badge worn by the Chief of the Fire Department at airports in Italy.

The Corpo Nazionale dei Vigili del Fuoco (abbreviated by CNVVF or VVF, the National Fire Corps) is Italy's institutional agency for fire and rescue service, which is also operating at airports according to the standards and international guidelines defined by ICAO in Annex 14.



Montréal – 24-26 May 2011 - Global Runway Safety Symposium - Special souvenir covers

There is a special story behind the sunflowers that appear on the postage stamps. After seeking out several varieties that would appear most attractive on stamps, members of Canada Post’s Stamp Services staff met with horticultural experts at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Central Experimental Farm, in Ottawa. After choosing varieties sure to flourish under local growing conditions, AAFC’s experts agreed to provide a plot, and oversee the planting and tending of several types of sunflowers, which would eventually be photographed for the stamps. The winning varieties were Sunbright and Prado Red. The souvenir envelopes were issued with each of these two varieties.

The postmark was prepared in cooperation with Canada Post Corporation. The city of Montréal, where ICAO’s Headquarters are located, is highlighted by a red mark in the design on the left-side.


Excerpt from The Journal of the UN Philatelists, Vol. 35 #5, October 2011.


On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of ICAO, Kyrgyzstan issued on 13 December 2019 a sheetlet with one label (in the upper-left position) and 5 stamps showing various international airports in the country, as follows (from top to bottom and from left to right): Manas International Airport, Osh International Airport. Issyk-Kul International Airport, Karakol International Airport, and Batken International Airport.