Most air law training documents go at length about how SARPs (Standards and Recommended Practices) are published but nothing about the process related to PANS (Procedures for Air Navigation Services) publications. Is it the same as SARPs? Is it ANC (Air Navigation Commission) technical commissioners developing PANS, submitting them to the council for approbation like for the SARPs?


2 Answers 2


Is it ANC (Air Navigation Commission) technical commissioners developing PANS, submitting them to the council for approbation like for the SARPs?

1. Similar process for SARPS and PANS

The amendment process for SARPS and PANS is similar, though PANS and SUPPS have not the same status than SARPS. They are SARPS detailed complements.

PANS are designed by technical panels, like SARPS:

How to Build an ICAO SARP

How to Build an ICAO SARP, source ICAO

2. PANS approval delegation to the ANC

For PANs, the document is communicated to Council representatives for comments. After comments have be reviewed, and the document has been possibly updated, the president of the ANC approves it.

From Air Navigation Commission - Procedures and Practices:

4.6 Approval of PANS material

4.6.1 In accordance with the decisions taken during the 8th and 12th meetings of the 156th Session (156/8 & 12, C-WP11091), the Council delegated the approval of amendments to PANS documentation (and SUPPS – see 4.7) to the ANC, subject to approval by the President of the Council after their circulation to Representatives on the Council for comment.

4.6.2 Any comments on the amendment proposal received from Council Representatives are discussed with the President of the ANC to determine whether they should be taken into account in the corresponding amendment.

The approved document is submitted with the remaining comments to the president of the Council. If comments asked for a discussion in Council session, the session is held, else the president of the Council can directly approve the release on behalf of the Council:

(4.6.2 cont'd) If no request is made by a Council Representative to have the PANS amendment tabled for discussion in the Council, the President of the Council will approve the amendment on behalf of the Council and inform the Council accordingly.


SARPS are elaborated in ICAO Annexes. The ANC appoints Technical Panels for both SARPS as well as PANS, there are 6 PANS to supplement and complement the 17 Annexes that the ANC works on.

These two extracts from ICAO PANS documents make things quite clear:

(PANS) contain operational practices that are beyond the scope of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) but with respect to which a measure of international uniformity is desir

Procedures for Air Navigation Services (PANS) do not have the same status as SARPs. While the latter are adopted by the Council in pursuance of Article 37 of the Convention and are subject to the full procedure of Article 90, PANS are approved by the Council and are recommended to Contracting States for worldwide application.


Popularly known as "The Chicago Convention", The CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION signed in 1944 provides:

Article 37: Adoption of international standards and procedures. (SARPS)

Article 57: Duties of Commission (ANC).

Article 90: Adoption and amendment of Annexes (a) The adoption by the Council of the Annexes described in Article 54, subparagraph (l), shall require the vote of two-thirds of the Council at a meeting called for that purpose and shall then be submitted by the Council to each contracting State.. . . . .


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