Introduction to the anniversaries


The anniversary dates of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have always created difficulties in interpretation and have shown inconsistencies in their celebration.


On 7 December 1944, the International Civil Aviation Conference, held in Chicago, concluded with the signature of the final act, containing the following two main instruments:

1.       The Convention on International Civil Aviation, designed to provide a complete modernization of the basic public international law of the air. After ratification by twenty-six States, it came into effect on 4 April 1947 with the constitution of the new permanent International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO.

2.       The Interim Agreement on International Civil Aviation, designed to deal with the period intervening until the above permanent convention would be ratified. It came into effect on 6 June 1945, thereby constituting the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization (PICAO).


From the above, several dates may be used to celebrate the anniversaries related to ICAO; the latter Organization left much confusion on its anniversary dates, as ICAO celebrated them as follows:



Celebrated in

10th Anniversary

June 1955

15th Anniversary

April 1962

20th Anniversary

December 1964

30th Anniversary

April 1977

35th Anniversary

April 1982

40th Anniversary

December 1984

45th Anniversary

December 1989

50th Anniversary

December 1994

60th Anniversary

December 2004

65th Anniversary

December 2009

70th Anniversary

December 2014

75th Anniversary

December 2019


As it can be noticed, ICAO’s anniversaries are celebrated on 7 December every year since 1984. In reality, the date of 7 December is not the day the Chicago Convention’s anniversary should be associated with; it should be the date on which the Chicago Convention entered into force, which was 4 April 1947.


The ICAO Assembly, at its 29th Session (held in Montréal from 22 September to 8 October 1992), adopted Resolution A29-1, which declared that each year, starting in 1994, the date of 7 December shall be designated International Civil Aviation Day. This practice is at variance with The United Nations Day, which is celebrated each year on 24 October, i.e. the day on which the United Nations came into existence.



Special emblems used for the ICAO anniversaries


Notwithstanding the above confusion, several countries celebrated the 75th anniversary of ICAO, either in 1979 (Belize, Paraguay and Uruguay) or in 1980 (Paraguay). In December 1903, the dream of thousands of years came true: the Wright brothers made the first successful flight of a manned, heavier-than-air vehicle. The above-mentioned countries strangely associated the 75th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ triumph with ICAO, which has not reached yet its 75th milestone.



Philatelic items commemorating the 75th anniversary of ICAO



Stamp album published by H.E. Harris, noting the 9th anniversary of ICAO for the stamps released by the United Nations in 1955. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Chicago Convention.