ICAO’s Annex 19: Who Needs to Do What by When

Dec 13, 2017

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the United Nations agency widely recognised as the global authority on aviation rules and regulations, has implemented new safety management provisions that become applicable in 2019. Here’s what that means for you.


ICAO’s Safety Management System (SMS) requirements have existed in various Annexes (rulebooks and guidebooks) since 2001. (For reference, ICAO defines SMS as a ‘systematic approach to managing safety, including the necessary organisational structures, accountabilities, policies, and procedures.’ For more information on SMS, download our free ‘Safety Management Systems 101: An Introductory Analysis’ ebook here.)


In 2010, the agency sought to address the need for tighter integration of safety management functions across various sectors of the industry — and Annex 19 was born.


Annex 19 comprises two phases, the first of which consolidates all of ICAO’s safety management provisions into the new annex. Phase 2, which has broader implications for civil aviation, provides for the development of enhanced safety management regulations and becomes applicable to ICAO’s 192 member states (countries) in November 2019.


Phase 2 forms an industry-wide safety management framework by requiring that member states establish State Safety Programs (SSP) that in turn require each service provider within that state to develop its own SMS. The ‘service providers’ Phase 2 covers are:


  • Approved training organisations
  • Airplane or helicopter operators authorised to conduct international commercial transport
  • Approved maintenance organisations providing services to the aforementioned airplane and helicopter operators
  • Organisations responsible for aircraft type, design, or manufacture
  • Air traffic services providers
  • Operators of certified aerodromes
  • International general aviation operators flying large or turbojet airplanes


If you fall into one of those categories, you must have a state-compliant SMS in place by November 2019 and ensure you’re adhering to Annex 19’s safety management Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), which:


  • Make the 4 components of SSP a necessary ‘standard’ rather than a desirable ‘recommended practice’
  • Apply state safety oversight provisions to all service providers


To learn exactly what needs to be included in and covered by your SMS, you’ll need to access the SSP and SMS resources provided by your local and/or national aviation legislators. In the United States, for example, it’s the Federal Aviation Administration. In New Zealand, it’s the Civil Aviation Authority — and NZ operators can go here to find out how to get compliant.


(It should be noted that the above list comprises mostly operators flying internationally. If you only fly domestically or locally, you may not need to adhere to the 2019 mandate. New Zealand’s SSP, for instance, has a separate requirement for certain operators that takes effect in 2021. Contact your local authority to find out what the rules are for your specific business.)


Don’t forget to download Spidertracks’s free ebook, ‘Safety Management Systems 101: An Introductory Analysis,’ to learn more about ICAO, SMS, and safety management in aviation.

Keep up with the latest blogs and eBooks from Spidertracks