Annex 8 – Airworthiness of Aircraft


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.


Airworthiness is the measure of an aircraft's suitability for safe flight. Certification of airworthiness is initially conferred by a certificate of airworthiness from a national aviation authority, and is maintained by performing the required maintenance actions. The application of airworthiness defines the condition of an aircraft and supplies the basis for judgment of the suitability for flight of that aircraft, in that it has been designed with engineering rigor, constructed, maintained and is expected to be operated to approved standards and limitations, by competent and approved individuals, who are acting as members of an approved organization and whose work is both certified as correct and accepted on behalf of the State. The airworthiness of aircraft ranges thus from the initial approval of a new aircraft design to ensuring an aircraft’s on-going safety standards.


The purpose of Annex 8 – Airworthiness of Aircraft is to specify broad standards which define, for application by the national airworthiness authorities, the minimum basis for the recognition by States of Certificates of Airworthiness for the purpose of flight of aircraft of other States into and over their territories, thereby achieving, among other things, protection of other aircraft, third parties and property. It is recognized that ICAO Standards would not replace national regulations and that national codes of airworthiness containing the full scope and extent of detail considered necessary by individual States would be required as the basis for the certification of individual aircraft. Each State is free to develop its own comprehensive and detailed code of airworthiness or to select, adopt or accept a comprehensive and detailed code established by another Contracting State. The level of airworthiness required to be maintained by a national code is indicated by the broad standards of Annex 8 supplemented, where necessary, by guidance material provided in ICAO's Airworthiness Technical Manual (Doc 9760).


Article 31 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation specifies that every aircraft engaged in international navigation shall be provided with a certificate of airworthiness issued or rendered valid by the State in which it is registered. Article 33 of the Convention places the burden on the State of Registry to recognize and render valid an airworthiness certificate issued by another Contracting State, subject to the condition that the airworthiness requirements under which such a certificate is issued or rendered valid are equal to or above the minimum standards which are established by ICAO in Annex 8. This Annex is divided into four parts: Part I includes definitions; Part II deals with procedures for certification and continuing airworthiness of aircraft; Part III includes technical requirements for the certification of new large aeroplane designs; and Part IV deals with helicopters.


When PICAO came into existence in 1945, Technical Divisions composed of specialists from Members States and of observers from organizations interested in international civil aviation, assisted by the Organization’s Secretariat, were directed and coordinated by the two committees of the PICAO Council, i.e. the Air Navigation Committee and the Air Transport Committee. The Airworthiness (AIR) Division was responsible for the preparation of a text designed to replace Chicago Annex G titled Airworthiness requirements for civil aircraft engaging in international air navigation.


Annex 8 – Front page

The AIR Division held its first Session (8 meetings) from 18 March to 13 April 1946. The second Session of this Division was held from 20 February to 15 March 1947. Its principal task was a very thorough review of the Recommendations for Standards, Practices and Procedures for Airworthiness and for Aircraft Nationality and Registration Marks prepared during the first session. These were amended, amplified and clarified in the light of intensive studies undertaken in intervening months by Member States and the Secretariat. A special AIR/OPS Committee on Temperature Accountability was held at ICAO’s Office in Paris from 23 September to 4 October 1947. Annex 8 - Airworthiness of Aircraft was first adopted by the ICAO Council on 1 March 1949 to become effective on 1 August 1949 and applicable on 1 September 1949.


The 3rd and 4th Sessions of the AIR Division were held from 8 February to 13 March 1949 and from 24 April to 2 June 1951 respectively. Their major accomplishments were the preparation of amendments to the International Standards and Recommended Practices for Airworthiness of Aircraft, which were further adopted by the Council.


The Assembly at its seventh session (16 June to 6 July 1953) endorsed the action already taken by the Council and the Air Navigation Commission to initiate a fundamental study of ICAO policy on international airworthiness and directed the Council to complete the study as rapidly as practicable. In pursuing such study, the Air Navigation Commission established in 1954 an international body of airworthiness experts from Contracting States, designated as the Airworthiness Panel, willing to contribute to the work of revising the standards of Annex 8; this panel met for the first time in Montréal from 15 November to 16 December 1954.


Established early in 1957 pursuant to a recommendation of the Third Air Navigation Conference (Montréal, 18 September to 23 October 1956), the Airworthiness Committee was a body of airworthiness experts with the status and working methods of a panel but called a Committee because of the nature and probable long duration of its work. The first meeting of this Committee was held at ICAO Headquarters from 22 October to 6 November 1957. The second meeting was held at Montréal from 3 to 29 July 1958.


At the invitation of the Swedish Government, the Airworthiness Committee held its third meeting in Stockholm from 14 July to 10 August 1959. At this meeting, a wide range of the most important problems in the airworthiness field were discussed in some detail, but the main result achieved was in the field of performance. The Committee’s most significant work in the field of structures was on the subject of fatigue strength. Another subject considered at this meeting was aircraft external lighting. The provision and use of oxygen in aeroplanes with pressurized cabins had become very important with the general introduction of these aircraft into commercial operation, and the Committee agreed that the development of standard specifications for them was very desirable. The Committee still had a heavy work programme ahead of it.


Over the years and to complement Annex 8, ICAO developed guidance material for the Contracting States, in the form of Technical Manuals and Manuals of Procedures dealing with the subject of Airworthiness. Further amendments to Annex 8 arose from proposals received from States, the Air Navigation Commission, the Airworthiness Committee, the Air Navigation Conferences, etc.


In accordance with the new policy on international airworthiness approved by the Council on 15 March 1972, the Airworthiness Technical Manual was issued early in 1974. This manual contains guidance material of non-mandatory nature on a variety of airworthiness topics. The Air Navigation Commission directed the Airworthiness Committee to review the guidance material on a continuing basis during its future work and to prepare proposals for its updating.


In 1985, the Air Navigation Commission considered the views of States and selected international organizations on the work programme of the Airworthiness Committee and on the use that was being made of the Airworthiness Technical Manual. As a result of this consideration, the Commission recommended to the Council, and the Council agreed, that the Airworthiness Committee be disbanded. Arrangements were made to pursue the outstanding items on the work programme of the Committee by alternative means. In particular, the Commission agreed that a new consultative body should, in due course, be established to address continuing airworthiness matters; continuing airworthiness is the set of processes by which an aircraft, engine, propeller or part complies with the applicable airworthiness requirements and remains in a condition for safe operation throughout its operating life. The first meeting of the Continuing Airworthiness Panel was held in Montréal from 11 to 15 January 1988.


The Airworthiness Manual (Doc 9760) was first published in 2001 and is a consolidation of airworthiness-related information previously found in other ICAO documents; As a result, the first edition of the Airworthiness Manual replaced the following ICAO documents: the Airworthiness Technical Manual, the Manual of Procedures for an Airworthiness Organization and the Continuing Airworthiness Manual. The content was reviewed, edited and expanded on by the Airworthiness Panel (AIRP), which first met in Montréal from 1 to 11 April 2003. The objective of ICAO’s Airworthiness Programme is to support States in the continuing improvement of their airworthiness capabilities and oversight responsibilities through enhanced guidance material provided by ICAO.


No philatelic item within the ICAO collection of stamps and covers can illustrate the purpose of Annex 8.



Picture dated 9 January 1950 (recto and verso). The Percival P.50 PINCE 1 (shown here, registered G-ALCM) Aircraft was manufactured by Percival Aircraft Ltd. It was a British light transport of the early postwar period, twin-engine, high-wing, cantilever monoplane of all-metal stressed-skin construction.

The set of ICAO international flight standards on the airworthiness of aircraft (Annex 8) became first applicable on 1 September 1949; further to that, the PRINCE was the first British aircraft in its class to achieve the Category A airworthiness standards set up by Annex 8.



Excerpt from the ICAO Monthly Bulletin, January 1951. Front cover and first page of the Bulletin.

The picture shows a Saab 90A-2 aircraft from Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), named “Scandia” (registered SE-BSB), which received the first certificate of airworthiness in the Category “A” for an aircraft built in Sweden on 13 June 1950.

Saab designed the model 90 Scandia as a DC-3 replacement with a first flight on 16 November 1946. The Scandia accommodated 24 to 32 passengers.



Front and back of the picture taken during the 3rd Meeting of the ICAO Airworthiness Committee, held in Stockholm from 14 July to 10 August 1959 at the Apollonia Hotel.

The Secretary of the Meeting, Alfred Gordon Berg, Australia, Chief of the Airworthiness Section at ICAO, discusses the programme with the Chairman J.M.J. de Lagarde, France, the Chief Engineer Erland Ljungh, Swedish Civil Aviation Authority, and the Swedish Minister Herman Kling.


This Airworthiness Manual (Doc 9760) provides guidance to States on the establishment of an airworthiness inspection organization to meet their obligation under the Convention on International Civil Aviation to ensure that the aircraft on their registers are maintained in an airworthy condition. It also provides guidance to operators and State authorities on procedures for maintaining the airworthiness of aircraft. Technical guidance material on specific airworthiness topics is included to assist in the uniform implementation of Annex 8 and in the development of a State's national regulations.