For decades, individual countries maintained their own standards of regulating airlines and associated infrastructure, resulting in a strong demand for standardization. In 1944, representatives from regulatory and industry groups met in Chicago. They emerged with a consolidated body tasked with generating globally applicable standards for the commercial aviation industry.
That body was aptly named the International Civil Aviation Organization. And ever since, the ICAO has set standards for the legal aspects of air travel, from licensing to operational standards, including standardizing protocols from disease contamination prevention to radio navigation practices and airplane marking conventions.
When it comes to airports specifically, the ICAO details standards in what is known as Annex 14. Annex 14 was originally published in 1951, with subsequent updates and revisions largely driven by evolving technologies and security demands.
The ICAO, as an international body, however, has no actual enforcement power, though. Rather, its role is to create the standards that member states later enshrine in their own regulatory frameworks. That gives their standards the needed teeth.
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