The first official emblem


The last early emblem, in use since 1954 displaying longer wings set lower on the globe than on the current emblem, was later modified to show the wings relocated slightly higher on the globe for better balance; this new emblem was approved by the Secre­tary General of ICAO on 6 January 1955; at this stage, he decided that steps should be taken towards adopting an ICAO official emblem, as none of the prior emblems had ever received formal recognition by the Council or the Assembly. On 21 February 1955, the Secretary General of the United Nations authorized the use of the United Nations emblem with the design of the wings superim­posed to serve as the official emblem of ICAO.  On 1 June 1955, the emblem was already reproduced on some of the first day covers commemorat­ing ICAO's 10th anniver­sary by Canada.


Mr. St. Onge’s First Draft


Mr. St. Onge’s Revised Draft

As approved by the United Nations, the new emblem was submitted for formal approval to the ICAO Council in August 1955.  When considering the design of this new emblem, the Council felt that the incorporation of the initials ICAO and OACI would identify it more clearly with the Organization; these acronyms would refer to the English, French and Spanish denominations of the International Civil Aviation Organization, as the original text of the Convention on International Civil Aviation had been drawn up in 1944 in those three languages.



First official emblem and seal

Fur­ther to the Council's request to present addi­tional proposals for approval by the 9th Assembly (May/June 1955), mem­bers of the Secretariat were invited to submit further designs for an official emblem; the invita­tion had inadvertently omitted the specification to include the acro­nyms ICAO and OACI, so that the ten different designs submitted by six staff members did not comply with the direction from the Council.  The ad hoc Committee on ICAO emblem selected one of the five designs submitted by Mr. Maurice St. Onge, Canadian, Cartographic Draftsman in the Aeronautical Information Section of the Secretariat.  Moreover, Mr. St. Onge was requested to revise his selected design and to work out a sketch portraying a suggestion made by one member of the Committee.  Mr. St. Onge was granted an award of $50 in recogni­tion of the extremely careful and painstaking work done.


As none of the revised designs was judged to be superior to the basic design in use since 1951, the emblem with the acronyms of the Organization was eventually selected to maintain the practical advantages of retaining a visible sign of ICAO's relationship with the United Nations, as a radically different ICAO emblem would have taken many years before achieving the currency, which had been attached in many countries of the world to the widely recognized "UN crest".


ICAO Council agreed to recommend to the Assem­bly this first official emblem, which was adopted by the 10th Session of the Assembly, held in Caracas in June-July 1956 (Resolution A10-11).


Letter of thanks sent to Mr. St. Onge in recognition for his contribution to the designs for the new seal and emblem of the Organization. Dated 8 March 1956.



Steps for assembling the ICAO emblem.

Olive branches symbolize peace; the world map depicts the area of concern to the United Nations in achieving its main purpose, peace and security.

The two aircraft wings directly relate to aviation and are superimposed on the UN emblem.

ICAO/OACI refers to the acronym of the Organization in English (ICAO, International Civil Aviation Organization), French (OACI, Organisation de l'Aviation Civile Internationale) and Spanish (OACI, Organización de Aviación Civil Internacional).


Canada – 1 June 1955 – Caneco First Day Cover.

Showing the emblem as approved in 1955 (without initials).


Copy of the notice found in the ICAO Bulletin, Vol. XII, No 2 – 1957.


First Day Cover – 1 June 1955 - Early emblem still with longer wings.

Overseas Mailers cachet (Hand-painted); Convair B-36.



Korea – 11 December 1962 - 10th Anniversary of admission to ICAO

First correct appearance of the first official emblem.