THE POSTAL HISTORY OF ICAO

 

The International Civil Aviation Day

 

By Resolution A29-1, the 29th Session of the ICAO Assembly, held in 1992, declared 7 December of each year, starting in 1994, as International Civil Aviation Day to highlight and advance the benefits of international civil aviation. The 7 December 1994 marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (also known as the Chicago Convention) at Chicago, Il, USA. Pursuant to an ICAO initiative and with the assistance of the Canadian Government, on 6 December 1996 by Resolution 51-33, at its 75th plenary meeting, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 7 December as International Civil Aviation Day and urged governments, as well as national, regional, international and intergovernmental organizations, to take appropriate steps to observe it. Since then, 7 December is listed as an official UN day. The purpose of the global celebration is to generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation in the social, economic and developmental benefits of aviation and international air travel, and of the role of ICAO in promoting the safety, efficiency, and regularity of international air transport. The day is celebrated with educational events, aviation themed lectures and classroom events, air displays, and press and media releases.

 

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 (on 24 October 1945).

 

Costa Rica

17 December 1940

Pan-American Aviation Day

Every year, the ICAO Council adopts a theme, which is launched on 7 December, and then used by ICAO’s Member States over the following twelve months to promote international civil aviation. The 2007 theme was "Global Air Transport — a driver of sustainable economic, social and cultural development

 

Several countries or regions already celebrated an aviation day prior to ICAO’s initiative to launch the International Civil Aviation Day. A few examples are given herewith. President F.D. Roosevelt had proclaimed 17 December 1940 the Pan-American Aviation Day; in commemoration of this day, Costa Rica issued a set of overprinted stamps. The Civil Aviation Council of Arab States (CACAS, the organization preceding the Arab Civil Aviation Commission, ACAC), at its 11th Annual Session held in Baghdad, Irak from 1 to 10 December 1973, adopted a resolution to celebrate an Arab Civil Aviation Day every year on 1 December; two countries (Qatar and Syria) issued stamps to commemorate this day.

 

It to be noted that, according to the U.S. Code, the President of the United States may issue each year a proclamation to designate 17 December (anniversary date of the first flight by the Wright Brothers) of each year as Pan-American Aviation Day and to issue a proclamation calling upon all officials of the Government, Governors of the States, possessions, and all citizens to participate in the observance of this day to further and stimulate interest in aviation in the American countries as an important stimulus to the further development of more rapid communications and a cultural development between the nations of the Western Hemisphere.

 

Along with the 50th anniversary celebrations, ICAO issued a special cover for the first coordinated celebration of the International Civil Aviation Day on 7 December 1994. This philatelic cover paid tribute to the founders of ICAO and specially to the Honourable Adolf A. Berle, Jr., U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Chairman of the American Delegation and President of the International Civil Aviation Conference, by quoting a sentence of his closing address on 7 December 1944 at the Final Plenary Session in the Grand Ballroom of the Stevens Hotel, Chicago, Illinois. The quotation reads as follows: “As a result of the work of these and many other men, when we leave this Conference, we can say to our airmen throughout the world that they can go out and fly their craft in peaceful service”.

 

The following year in 1995, Israel issued a souvenir leaf for the International Civil Aviation Day, showing the tail of an El Al Airlines Boeing 747, an early aircraft in the background, and the emblem of the Civil Aviation Administration (CAA). The stamp on this card (issued on 9 July 1990) is Michel #2 (in the section of automated stamps of the Michel catalogue) produced by the Klussendorf ATM machine (value S1.00, light grey, no machine number printed); it shows the stag, emblem of the Postal Authority, and the Star of David. The theme of the 1995 celebration was: "The Aeroplane in our Lives". Israel souvenir leaves were produced for the first time in 1988. Issues are commissioned by private companies or organizations to mark special events, and bear postage stamps as authorized by the Postal Authority. In this case, the CAA of Israel required the printing of 2010 souvenir leaves (see number at the bottom centre of the picture). Ten souvenir leaves were donated to the Postal Archives and the balance was sold to the public.

 

Right after the proclamation of 7 December as International Civil Aviation Day, several countries took initiative to create their National Aviation Day and issue stamps or special postmarks accordingly to celebrate this event, i.e. Thailand, Mexico and Indonesia.

 

On 7 December 1999, Kuwait released a set of 3 stamps to celebrate the International Civil Aviation Day. The theme of that year was: "International Civil Aviation - Promoting Global Friendship and Understanding". This issue is the only one in the ICAO collection showing the third and current official emblem of ICAO.

 

ICAO designed a postcard for the celebration of the International Civil Aviation Day at ICAO on 7 December 2000; the theme was: "Implementing SARPS - the Key to Aviation Safety and Efficiency". All ICAO staff members received a sample of this postcard and were expected to mail it from countries outside Canada to the Public Information Office at Headquarters, with a view to a draw prizes on 7 December 2001 among those who had sent back their card. A lapel pin was prepared and sold by the ICAO Staff Association Boutique for the celebration of this International Civil Aviation Day. It reproduces the same design as on the postcard.

 

One Hundred Years of Powered, Controlled and Sustained Flight was the theme for the 2002 edition of the International Civil Aviation Day. The Public Information Office (PIO) at ICAO printed special bookmarks to commemorate this day.

 

The Greening of Flight — maximizing compatibility between safe and orderly development of civil aviation and the quality of the environment was the theme for the 2005 edition of the International Civil Aviation Day. Kuwait printed posters to commemorate this day.

 

Singapore

5 October 1994

As regards to the 2007 Bolivian issue, it is to be noted that there is a mismatch between the day of celebration of the International Civil Aviation Day (7 December) and the actual issue day (10 December). The Bs8.50 value of this issue shows for the first time in the ICAO collection an Airbus A380, the double-deck, wide-body, four-engine airliner manufactured by the European corporation Airbus, an EADS subsidiary. The largest passenger airliner in the world in 2008, the A380 made its maiden flight on 27 April 2005 from Toulouse, France, and made its first commercial flight on 25 October 2007 from Singapore to Sidney with Singapore Airlines. The aircraft was known as the Airbus A3XX during much of its development phase. It is to be noted that, within the ICAO collection, Singapore had issued in 1994 a set of four stamps reflecting the progressive, high‑tech and futuristic nature of the aviation industry. The 35-c value of that set features an aircraft of the future, an Airbus A3XX, a double-decker plane; however, although the philatelic notice mentions Boeing 747‑X, the design of the aircraft on this stamp seems to be closer to the preliminary design specifications of the Airbus project.

 

Every five years, coinciding with ICAO anniversaries (2014/2019/2024/2029/etc.), the ICAO Council establishes a special anniversary theme for the International Civil Aviation Day. Between these anniversary years, the Council representatives select a single theme for the full four-year intervening period. For 2015-2018 inclusive, the Council has selected the following theme: Working Together to Ensure No Country is Left Behind (NCLB). Under its ‘No Country Left Behind’ programme, ICAO is working with great determination to raise global awareness on the fundamental importance of the effective implementation of ICAO Standards and Policies, which together support the enhanced safety, efficiency, security, economic development and environmental protection of the international aviation system. This theme provides an important reminder of the role of cooperation and partnership in everything ICAO seeks to achieve in global civil aviation. Flying remains the safest form of transport because aviation safety benefits from an incredible team effort by governments, airline and airport operators, manufacturers and service providers, maintenance staff and others who make safety their priority; cooperation also makes the aircraft and facilities more secure, and better prepared to adjust to new and emerging threats. This theme is reflected in the commemorative cover shown here-after.

 

On 7 December, the United Nations and the global aviation community celebrate the crucial importance of flight to sustainable development and international friendship. In 2019, the celebrations were extra special, as ICAO celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which created ICAO and the modern civil aviation network. The theme for International Civil Aviation Day in 2019 was: “75 Years of Connecting the World”. This theme, that celebrated ICAO’s 75th Anniversary, was selected to help draw attention to the fact that safe, secure and rapid connectivity is the core capability of aviation’s worldwide network, and the key-value offering from which all other international aviation benefits derive – whether commercial, cultural or personal. ICAO chose to focus the air transport sector’s attention during this historic anniversary much more directly on the future of flight than on its past. This prioritization acknowledged the rapidly expanding capacity of the incredible new aircraft now being conceptualized, designed, and produced to fulfil exciting new services and roles for civil societies.

 

From 2020 until 2023, the ICAO Council has decided that the theme will be: “Advancing Innovation for Global Aviation Development”. ICAO's Council President Mr. Salvatore Sciacchitano, and its Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu, join United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in highlighting the important air transport priorities now facing the world: “A commitment to innovation has always been at the heart of aviation, and it has been instrumental to the continuous performance improvements countries have realized, through ICAO, for aviation safety, security, efficiency, and the economic and environmental sustainability of international operations.

Innovation will also be at the heart of our recovery strategies and partnerships as we build back better post-pandemic, establishing a renewed global network that is greener and more resilient in the face of future pandemic threats, and more dependable in terms of the significant socio-economic benefits which air connectivity delivers to modern societies.

Today, the ICAO Council, including its Council Aviation Recovery Taskforce, continues to encourage innovative and prudent measures to help countries respond to and ultimately recover from COVID-19. This work is being supported by the ICAO Secretariat, which has been innovating its own special adjustments to global aviation standards to keep vital operations possible, and establishing dedicated pandemic resources and monitoring tools to keep countries effective and coordinated in their air transport responses.

 

Many countries have established National Aviation Days, before ICAO established the International Civil Aviation Day in 1994, such as, to name only a few:

1.    USA: To celebrate the development of aviation the innovations it spawned, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established 19 August (the anniversary of Orville Wright's birthday, 19 August 1871 - 20 January 1948) as the National Aviation Day in 1939. Orville Wright’s contributions laid the foundation for aviation and changed the world.

 

19 August 1944 – FDC commemorating the National Aviation Day in the USA.

 

2.    Pan American Aviation Day is observed on 17 December to further and stimulate interest in aviation in the American countries as an important stimulus to the further development of more rapid communications and a cultural development between the countries of the Western Hemisphere. The date commemorates the first successful flight of a mechanically propelled heavier-than-air craft, accomplished on 17 December 1903 by the Wright brothers.

3.    Wright Brothers Day (17 December) commemorates the first successful flights in a heavier-than-air, mechanically propelled airplane, that were made by Orville and Wilbur Wright on 17 December 1903. That day was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on 24 September 1959.

4.    Brazil: Aviator's Day is celebrated on 23 October. It commemorates the first official flight by Alberto Santos-Dumont in a heavier-than-air aircraft, 14-bis, on 23 October 1906. In Brazil, Santos-Dumont is regarded as the “father of flight” and considered a national hero.

5.    Canada: 23 February is the National Aviation Day. That day marks the anniversary of Canada’s first powered flight in Canada, when, in 1909, pilot J.A.D. McCurdy flew the Silver Dart nearly 800 metres in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. This first flight paved the way for today’s dedicated aviation and commercial pilots to connect people and move goods safely and quickly across our country and around the world.

6.    Mexico: National Aviation Day, celebrated on 23 October, was established on 5 October 1943; it celebrates the accomplishments and history of aviation in Mexico, and especially the country's civil and military pioneers.

7.    Romania: National Aviation Day in Romania is observed annually on 17 June. On this day in 1910, Romanian engineer and inventor Aurel Vlaicu flew his first powered airplane, the A Vlaicu I, for the first time. Traian Vuia is considered one of Romanian aviation pioneers. Vlaicu’s aircraft are credited with boosting the development of both military and civil aviation in Romania.

8.    Republic of Korea: Korean National Airlines was the first (commercial cargo and passenger) air carrier in Korea. Established in 1946 and incorporated in 1948, its first official passenger flight was from Seoul to Pusan on 30 October 1948, which is now Korea's National Air Day.

9.    Thailand: 13 January is observed each year in Thailand as National Aviation Day (decided on 31 May 1994). On 13 January 1913, His Majesty the King Mongkut graciously presided over the first Thai flight demonstration which was a combined effort of Thai pilots and Thai built aircraft.

10. USSR: Soviet Air Force Day was enshrined by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet on 1 October 1980. On 28 September 1992, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of Russia fixed this date as Russian Air Force Day. The modern holiday was introduced to the Russian Armed Forces by President Vladimir Putin on 31 May 2006. The date was chosen based on the fact that 12 August 1912 marks the anniversary of the establishment of the Imperial Russian Air Service, which was formerly part of the Engineer Corps. 12 August is today considered to be the birthday of Russian military aviation.

 

USSR 1982 - Cosmonautics Day

As far as space is concerned, a few holidays need to be highlighted. On 12 April 1961, the 27-year-old Russian Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin circled the earth for 1 hour and 48 minutes aboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft. Gagarin's flight was a triumph for the Soviet space program, and opened a new era in the history of space exploration. A commemorative day named Cosmonautics Day (in Russian: День Космона́втики) was established in the Soviet Union one year after Gagarin's flight.

 

Also commemorated in 2021 is the fortieth anniversary of the very first orbital flight of the series of reusable space vehicles, when Space Shuttle Columbia lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on 12 April 1981, exactly 20 years after the first human spaceflight. In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly, recognizing the 50th anniversary of the first ever human space flight by Yuri Gagarin, declared 12 April as the International Day of Human Space Flight. It was proclaimed at the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly by resolution A/RES/65/271 on 7 April 2011, a few days before the 50th anniversary of the flight. The General Assembly expressed its deep conviction of the common interest of mankind in promoting and expanding the exploration and use of outer space, as the province of all mankind, for peaceful purposes and in continuing efforts to extend to all states the benefits derived there from.

 

Astronauts Day is an American holiday, dedicated to NASA astronauts and their achievements. It is a floating holiday, observed on the last Friday of January. This date was chosen to commemorate a number of space-related disasters which took place around this time, including the 27 January 1967 deaths aboard Apollo I, the disasters involving the Space Shuttle Challenger on 28 January 1986, and the Space Shuttle Columbia on 1 February 2003.

 

National Astronaut Day is an American commemorative day held on 5 May since 2017. It commemorates the first United States human space flight, on 5 May 1961, piloted by astronaut Alan Shepard.

 

Finally, on 6 December 1999, the United Nations General Assembly by Resolution A/RES/54/68 declared World Space Week as an annual event celebration to be commemorated between 4 and 10 October for the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition. The choice of dates was based on recognition of two important dates in space history: the launch of the first human-made earth satellite Sputnik 1 on 4 October 1957 and the signing of the Outer Space Treaty on 10 October 1967.

 

  

 

  

Qatar - 1 December 1974 - Arab Civil Aviation Day

 

Syria - 11 December 1990 - Arab Civil Aviation Day

Note that the vertical text on the left-side reads as follows:

ARAB CIVIL FLYING DAY – 1st DECEMBER; it should be spelled:

ARAB CIVIL AVIATION DAY – 11 DECEMBER.

Design and date errors are combined on this issue.

 

7 December 1994.

Special cover issued for the first coordinated celebration of the International Civil Aviation Day.

 

Same as above with metered stamp dated 7 December 1994.

 

The official first day cover, issued by Canada Post for ICAO’s 50th anniversary, was overprinted with the blue and gold ICAO 50th anniversary emblem in a collaboration between Canada Post and the ICAO Staff Association.

 

Special cover with the 50th anniversary sticker and the Canadian stamp issued for the 50th anniversary.

 

Israel - 7 December 1995. Souvenir leaf issued for the International Civil Aviation Day.

 

Thailand - 13 January 1996 - National Aviation Day.

 

Mexico - 20 January 1996 - National Aviation Day.

 

Indonesia - 9 April 1999 - National Aviation Day.

Douglas Dakota DC-3, registered RI-001 and named Seulawah. ICAO 50th Anniversary stamp.

 

Kuwait - 7 December 1999. First Day Cover with the set of 3 stamps celebrating

the International Civil Aviation Day with the theme: Promoting Global Friendship and Understanding.

 

 

Canada, Montréal. Postcard and pin - 7 December 2000.

Celebration of the International Civil Aviation Day.

ICAO emblem, paper airplanes and stylized men, symbolizing that ICAO’s work is based on people.

The theme was: Implementing ICAO SARPs - the key to aviation safety and efficiency.

 

 

ICAO - 7 December 2002. Special bookmark prepared by ICAO Public Information Office. The theme of that year was: One Hundred Years of Powered, Controlled and Sustained Flight.

 

Poster issued by the Pietersburg International Airport, in the South African province of Limporo. For 60 Years … Setting the Standards for International Civil Aviation was the theme of the 2003 edition of the International Civil Aviation Day.

 

Kuwait - 7 December 2005. Poster commemorating the 2005 International Civil Aviation Day with the theme: The Greening of Flight — Maximizing compatibility between safe and orderly development of civil aviation and the quality of the environment.

 

Bolivia - 10 December 2007. First Day Cover with the set of 2 stamps celebrating the International Civil Aviation Day with the theme: Global Air Transport — a driver of sustainable economic, social and cultural development.

 

This issue of the Philippines (7 December 2009) commemorated the 2009 International Civil Aviation Day with its theme: 65 Years of empowering the global community through aviation. The Philippines highlighted ICAO’s contribution to the global community by showing the emblems of bodies of the country and organizations of the world, which work in direct relationship with their Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

 

29 March 2010 – Romania - Full sheet with 8 stamps and 2 labels, commemorating the 2009 International Civil Aviation Day with its theme: “65 Years of empowering the global community through aviation”.

 

Turkey - 7 December 2011 - Commemorative cover celebrating the 2011 International Civil Aviation Day (Dünya Sivil Havacılık Günü) with the theme:

Assistance and Cooperation for Globally Sustainable Air Transport.

The stamp (part of a set of 4 stamps) in the upper-right corner was issued on 27 May 2009 for the 70th anniversary of the Turkish Ministry of Transport and Communications, to which the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) reports; the stamp depicts: package delivery, mail, aircraft.

 ICAO and Turkish DGCA emblems on the cachet.

 

USA - 7 December 2012.

Commemorative cover celebrating the International Civil Aviation Day.

Computer generated First Day Cover by COVERSCAPE and cancelled at Sagamore Beach, MA on 7 December 2012 (only 12 were made). The Council of ICAO had approved Aviation: Your Reliable Connection to the Word as the theme for the 2012 year’s worldwide celebration of the International Civil Aviation Day on 7 December 2012 and throughout the year 2013.

 

7 December 2013: International Civil Aviation Day. Fiction design by José Cortés from Spain.

At the left side: Airbus A310 taking-off. On the stamp: World map centred on America and Airbus A320 aircraft (equipped with sharklets) from LAN Airlines based in Santiago, Chile. Since 5 May 2016, LAN Airlines has been operating as LATAM Chile, with a new logo and a new livery for its aircraft.

This design was found on the site created by José Cortés. His site hosts personalized designs of stamps or postage stamps that are called “Sellos Ficción”.

 

Guyana’s unveiling of a sheet of 4 stamps: Women in Aviation on 7 December 2014 (International Civil Aviation Day).

Shown on the picture: Robeson Benn (on the left), Minister of Public Works, along with Paula McAdam and Sandra Persaud unveiling the stamp.

Paula McAdam (on the left) was the first female Air Traffic Controller in Guyana and has spent over 40 years in this field; Sandra Persaud (on the right) was the first female in Airport Management in Guyana.

 

Perforated sheet of 4 stamps.

Imperf.

 

 

 

First Day Covers – Dated 7 December 2014.

 

7 December 2014 - Guyana celebrated the International Civil Aviation Day with the launching of a new souvenir sheet and first day covers in honour of women in aviation at a ceremony held at Colgrain House, Camp Street, Georgetown.

The 2014 observance was held under the theme Cooperating on Global Aviation Progress: 70 Years of the Chicago Convention. This theme recognized the significant contributions that ICAO has made since its establishment, and the strengthening and success of fostering cooperation on aviation transport worldwide.

 

Guyana's coat of arms establishes the value the country places on its natural resources to spearhead its economic future. It is constructed with a white shield bordered on the sides by jaguars, an Indian headdress at the top, and the country's motto inscribed on a red and gold ribbon at the bottom.

The shield is divided by three wavy blue lines. At the bottom is the hoatzin, the national bird. At the top is the Victoria Regia water lily, the national flower. One of the jaguars holds a pickaxe, representing the valuable bauxite mining. The other holds a sugarcane stalk representing the importance of sugarcane farming. Representative of gemstone mining is the diamond found in the Indian headdress. Last, but not least, is the national motto on the ribbon, ONE PEOPLE, ONE NATION, ONE DESTINY, a slogan meant to represent the unity of the various races and regions of the country.

The design was adopted by the Royal College of Arms in England from three Guyana’s artists.

 

 

 

 

 

7 December 2015 – International Civil Aviation Day.

This cover highlights the single theme for the full four-year period 2015-2018 for the International Civil Aviation Day: Working Together to Ensure No Country is Left Behind.

 

7 December 2018 – International Civil Aviation Day.

This cover highlights the single theme for the full four-year period 2015-2018 for the International Civil Aviation Day: Working Together to Ensure No Country is Left Behind. The emblem of the 75th anniversary of the Organization is shown in the date cancel.

 

 

7 December 2019 – International Civil Aviation Day.

Covers highlighting the theme for the 2019 International Civil Aviation Day:

 “75 YEARS OF CONNECTING THE WORLD.

 

Special design by AsstrA Associated Traffic AG for the 2019 International Civil Aviation Day.

 

7 December 2019 – International Civil Aviation Day. Digital Card Topps Marvel Collect!

Topps collaborated with Marvel to create an innovative and highly engaging mobile app named Marvel Collect! and launched on 29 April 2019, featuring captivating characters and stories from Marvel’s legendary comic books, animation and Marvel Cinematic Universe and allowing sharing this app with Marvel fans throughout the world. Users will be able to collect and trade digital trading cards, complete collector-based missions, earn awards, complete sets, showcase their collection and more, all from their mobile devices.

 

7 December 2020 – International Civil Aviation Day.

Cover highlighting the theme for the 2020-2024 International Civil Aviation Day:

 “Advancing Innovation for Global Aviation Development.

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