The Laurel Award


In June 1997, the Air Navigation Commission (ANC) was awarded the Smiths Industries Laurel Award at the Global Navcom Conference in Cancun, Mexico, by the international air transport industry in recognition of “…the significant effort made by the ANC during the last three years to accelerate the pace of material essential to development of a co-coordinated, seamless and safe future air navigation environment”. It was in the form of a trophy and a cheque in the sum of US$5,000 from Smiths Industries Aerospace.


In a similar spirit of recognition, ICAO established a trust fund, initially funded from the contributions provided by the Global Navcom Laurel Award; the fund could eventually be funded by donations from States, national or international organizations, or industry. The Commission created, at the fourteenth meeting of its 148th Session on 18 June 1998, its own ANC Laurel Award, to pay tribute to an individual or group for an outstanding contribution to the work of the ANC (through its panels, study groups, worldwide meetings, or any appropriate manner) in furthering the safety, regularity and efficiency of international civil aviation. The ICAO ANC Laurel award, normally given every two years, consists of a trophy, i.e. a reduced replica of the masterpiece Vuelo, accompanied by a certificate and was bestowed in 1999 for the first time to Olivier Carel of the Direction de la Navigation Aérienne of France.



50th Anniversary of ICAO

Depicts the "Vuelo" sculpture

Often referred to as the technical arm of ICAO, the Air Navigation Commission (ANC) was created by the Convention on International Civil Aviation (also called the Chicago Convention) signed by 52 States on 7 December 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The mandate of the Commission is to recommend to the ICAO Council the most appropriate course of action in the process of developing and amending the Standards and Recommended Practices contained in seventeen of the 19 Annexes to the above-mentioned Convention, and the related procedures. The first official meeting of the ANC took place on 7 February 1949 at the Windsor Hotel, Montreal. The Commissioners and the Observers from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and from the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Association (IFALPA) sit in the first circle of chairs in the ANC Chamber; the second circle of chairs is reserved for the Observers from various States, other international organizations and other participants at various meetings of the Commission.


The ANC celebrated its 50th anniversary on 22 June 1999; the cachet of the cover commemorating this event shows the Laurel Award. The bronze sculpture Vuelo, i.e. flight, is located in the center of the ANC Chamber and was donated by Mexico to ICAO in 1992 as a token of gratitude for the work of ICAO. Designed by Leonardo Nierman, it represents a bird wing, a picture of absolute freedom, wind and poetry. Leonardo Nierman (born on 1 November 1932, full name Leonardo Nierman Mendelejis), is a Mexican artist mostly known for his painting and sculpture; his work is abstract, but still with discernible images from nature such as birds, water, lightning and more, whereas his sculptures are generally of metal, often silver-toned.


Further to a suggestion made by the ANC Award Committee, the Air Navigation Commission decided, at the sixth meeting of its 182nd Session on 27 October 2009, to rename the ANC Laurel Award the ICAO Walter Binaghi Air Navigation Commission Laurel Award, in order to honour its first President. Walter Binaghi, Argentina, became the first Chairman of the Air Navigation Commission in February 1949 and was annually re-elected in that capacity until he assumed the position of President of the Council in April 1957.



Air Navigation Commission Chamber at ICAO Headquarters in Montreal.

The bronze sculpture Vuelo is located in the center of the ANC Chamber.


First day cover issued for the 50th anniversary of the Air Navigation Commission.

The cachet shows the ANC Laurel Award.

Autographed by Olivier Carel, first recipient of the Laurel award, and Victor Aguado the then President of the ANC.