Annex 15 – Aeronautical Information Services


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.


One of the most vital roles in support of international civil aviation is the provision of Aeronautical Information Services (AIS), the objective of which is to ensure uniformity and consistency in the flow of aeronautical information/data to satisfy the need of safety, regularity and efficiency for the operational use of international air navigation. The way in which aeronautical information is gathered and managed is governed by Annex 15 – Aeronautical Information Services of the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation, which was originally adopted by the ICAO Council on 15 May 1953.


There was no provision as such for aeronautical services in the twelve original Annexes to the Chicago Convention (1944). But there was a high degree of similarity in the procedures recommended by the four Regional Air Navigation meetings, which took place between February and October 1946, for notifying airmen and other interested parties of changes in air navigation facilities, services, procedures or regulations. As a result, the first requirements for aeronautical services were developed by the PICAO Air Navigation Committee and the first Procedures for International Notices to Airmen Services (Procedures for Air Navigation Services: PANS-NOTAM) were approved by the PICAO Council on 7 January 1947. Member States in the North Atlantic, European-Mediterranean, Caribbean and Middle East regions, where air navigation meetings were held, were asked to bring them into effect as soon as feasible and start the development and implementation of the international exchange of NOTAMs. The NOTAM Procedures were also circulated to Member States in other regions for comments, with a view to world-wide adoption.


Annex 15

The NOTAM or NoTAM (abbreviation for NOTICE to AIRMEN) system was originally developed to meet the same function of the Notice to Mariner, which advises mariners of important matters affecting navigational safety. In the same way, a NOTAM is a notice distributed by means of telecommunication containing information concerning the establishment, condition or change in any aeronautical facility, service, procedure or hazard, the timely knowledge of which is essential to personnel concerned with flight operations. Later, additional types of notices were introduced: SNOWTAM (effective from 8 February 1968; NOTAM issued to notify presence or removal of hazardous conditions due to snow, ice, slush or standing water associated with snow, slush and ice on movement area, by means of specific format) and ASHTAM (introduced in the 1980s, NOTAM issued to notify activity of a volcano, volcanic eruption or volcanic ash cloud that is of significant importance to aircraft operations).


A Special NOTAM Meeting was held in Montreal from 14 April to 12 May 1949; it was the first meeting convened by ICAO for the express purpose of standardizing the activities of States in the dissemination of aeronautical information. The principal results of the meeting were the development of a draft set of "Procedures for Air Navigation Services - Aeronautical Information Services" (PANS-AIS, to replace the existing  "Procedures for Air Navigation Services - Procedures for International Notices to Airmen Services"), the enunciation of principles to govern the promulgation and dissemination of NOTAMS over the international aeronautical telecommunication service, and the formulation of recommendations for the future handling of aeronautical information problems. These Procedures became applicable on 1 August 1951.


In parallel, principles concerning the establishment of the world-wide aeronautical fixed telecommunications network (AFTN, renamed by mid-1990s to the general term: Aeronautical Fixed Service, AFS) were developed by the ICAO COM (Communications) Division for the exchange of messages and/or digital data between aeronautical stations having the same or compatible communications characteristics. Of particular interest is the concept of the AFTN as a network of circuits so integrated as to permit efficient and non-discriminatory exchange of messages of defined categories between any stations in the network.


From 19 August to 11 September 1952, the PANS-AIS were reviewed by the First Session of the Aeronautical Information Services Division which recommended the adoption of Standards and Recommended Practices. Following consideration by all Contracting States, these recommendations were reviewed by the Air Navigation Commission and the first set of Standards and Recommended Practices was adopted by the Council on 15 May 1953 as Annex 15-Aeronautical Information Services to the Convention for the promulgation of information essential to the safety, regularity and efficiency of air navigation. This Annex became applicable on 1 April 1954, thus superseding the PANS-AIS.


Since then, Annex 15 has undergone many amendments to meet the rapid changes brought about by air travel and associated information technology and to reflect the increased need for the timely provision of quality aeronautical information/data and terrain data as they have become critical components of data-dependant on-board navigation systems. Aeronautical information is handled differently depending on its urgency, operational significance, scope, volume and the length of time it will remain valid and relevant to users.


The role and importance of aeronautical information/data changed significantly with the advent of the internet era, the implementation of area navigation (RNAV), required navigation performance (RNP), air traffic management requirements, and airborne computer-based navigation systems. Hence, the traditional AIS has quite evolved to obtain quality and timely aeronautical information. Aeronautical information services have shifted to a broader concept of Aeronautical Information Management (AIM), with a different method of information provision and management given its data-centric nature as opposed to the product-centric nature of AIS.


On any given day in 2020, there might be 35,000 NOTAM circulating in the global air transport system that alert pilots of potential hazards along their flight routes. In 2020, the total number of NOTAM issued exceeded 1.7 million. It is not uncommon for a pre-flight briefing package that supports a long-haul international flight to contain more than 100 densely printed pages of NOTAM information. Analysis has shown that of these 35,000 NOTAM that are in the system every single day, on average 7,000 are older than three months, thereby violating international standards of Annex 15. To address these questions, ICAO launched on 8 April 2021 a new Global Campaign on NOTAM Improvement (NOTAM2021).


“Fortunately, changes are coming”, says Saulo Da Silva, Chief Global Interoperable Systems at ICAO, in January 2022; he added that “work is being done on a bigger overhaul of the system, giving it more of a modern digital format, using Internet-based transmission, rather than the current AFTN format”. He expects implementation of a new system may be able to start in 2024, though Europe and North America may move faster than other states. Before the new system arrives, efforts are underway to highlight and reduce the issues. Many NOTAMs are difficult to understand, simply irrelevant, and even potentially hiding more crucial information.


Suitable and standardized Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) are critical to global aviation safety. The World AIS Day is celebrated by AIS/AIM Community around the world on 15th May every year, as the Standards and Recommended Practices for Aeronautical Information Services were first adopted by the ICAO Council on 15 May 1953.




Various service covers sent by the Aeronautical Information Services and containing NOTAMs.


Official service cover sent by the Malaysian Government to ICAO AIS/MAP (Aeronautical Information and Charts) Section, which, amongst its duties, undertakes studies and provides guidance relating to aeronautical information services (AIS) and aeronautical charts (MAP); provides technical expertise on the AIS and MAP subjects to the Assembly, Council and the Air Navigation Commission (ANC). Cover cancelled on 24 October 1975.


Mail (front and back) containing AIP/NOTAM instructions sent from Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department to Jeppesen Headquarters in USA. Postmark dated 31 May 1989.

Since 1934, when Captain Elrey Borge Jeppesen began selling the world’s first aviation navigation charts, the Jeppesen company that bears his name has evolved alongside aviation. Jeppesen is offering navigational information, operations planning tools, flight planning products and software. Jeppesen is headquartered in Inverness, Englewood, Colorado and was acquired by the Boeing company in October 2000. 

As a pilot, E.B. Jeppesen (1907-1996) was the first to make aeronautical charts for pilots to navigate in flight. He worked as a pilot and began making detailed notes about his routes at a time when aviators had to rely on little more than automobile road maps and landmarks for navigation. The dangers of flying without any sort of guidance inspired Jeppesen to create his Little Black Book, i.e., a collection of navigational information for pilots to use during flight. Jeppesen carefully scouted the various routes, taking photographs and writing notes. He climbed mountains and smokestacks, checked out emergency fields and the obstructions around them, and figured out different ways to get into and out of certain areas.

The information that he collected and the charts that he drew were at first only for personal use, but fellow pilots quickly saw the benefits of using these charts. Word got around about his Little Black Book and soon he was giving copies to his fellow pilots. In 1934, as demand picked up, Jeppesen founded Jeppesen & Co. in the basement of his Salt Lake City home to sell his information for $10 a copy.

Jeppesen received numerous awards and honors throughout his career. In 1995, the 29th Edward Warner Award was bestowed upon Captain Jeppesen for the development of inter­national civil aviation and air navigation in particular; the Edward Warner Award is the highest honour in the world of civil aviation conferred by ICAO and recognizes individuals or institutions for their outstanding contribution to the development of international civil aviation.



Mail (front and back) containing AIP/NOTAM instructions sent from the Union of Burma (now Myanmar) to Germany. 

Postmark dated 18 July 1989.


Service cover containing NOTAMs sent by the Aeronautical Information Services of Ethiopia

to ICAO Aeronautical Information Section (AIS). Cover cancelled on 11 April 1998.