ICAO: Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS)

This circular was published in 1988 by the Secretary General of ICAO [1]. The purpose of this publication was to introduce standardisation in regards to AFIS within international flight provisions.

The following are some questions that were addressed within the circular:

  • What is AFIS?
  • What are its limitations?
  • What information should be provided?
  • What sorts of facilities are required to provide AFIS?

It had been suggested that one of the primary motivations behind AFIS is cost/benefit and that this is not always compatible with safety. It is primarily an implementation problem.

1 General

1.1[2] Aerodrome flight information service (AFIS) is the term used to describe the provision of information useful for the safe and efficient conduct of aerodrome traffic at those aerodromes designated for use by international general aviation where the appropriate air traffic services authority determines that the provision of aerodrome control service is not justified, or is not justified on a 24-hour basis.

1.2 Basic elements of information provided to aircraft:

  • Meteorological information for aircraft about to take off or to land, including SIGMET information. E.g. the current surface wind direction and speed, QNH, air temperature, visibility.
  • The most suitable runway for use.
  • Information that is essential to the safe operation. E.g. Construction or maintenance work.
  • Information that is related with airdrome equipment or radio bearings. E.g. Navigation aids.
  • Any other information or messages contributing to safety.

2 AFIS requirements for information

AFIS units should, to the extent possible, be supplied with the same information as that provided to aerodrome control towers.

  • 2.1 Meteorological Information
  • 2.2 Information on aerodrome conditions and the operational status of associated facilities
  • 2.3 Information on the operational status of navigation aids
  • 2.4 Information on unmanned free balloons

3 AFIS requirements for communications

3.1 Aeronautical mobile service (air-ground communications)
Air-ground communication facilities should enable direct, rapid, continuous and static-free two-way communications to take place between an AFIS unit and appropriately equipped aircraft operating at any distance within 45 KM (25 NM) of the AFIS aerodrome.

3.2 Aeronautical fixed service
An AFIS should be connected with the associated flight information centre (FIC) or area control centre (ACC).

4 Airspace designation

4.1 AFIS should be provided to all IGA traffic on the manoeuvring area and to all IGA aircraft flying in the vicinity of the aerodrome.

4.2 The airspace within which AFIS will be provided should be designated as a flight information zone (FIZ) and its lateral and vertical limits specified.

5 Status of service and radiotelephony phraseology

The call sign “Aerodrome Information” should be used following the name of the aerodrome. E.g. PALMERSTON NORTH AERODROME INFORMATION.

6 Hours of availability of AFIS

AFIS should be made available on a 24 hour basis unless part-time availability is deemed to be adequate.

7 Accommodation and equipment

7.1 AFIS should be provided from a location where there is the best possible view of the aerodrome and the surrounding area.

7.2 The equipment for the AFIS unit should be similar to the aerodrome control tower.

8 Qualifications and training of AFIS Personnel

Age, knowledge, experience and skill required from AFIS personnel should be determined by the appropriate Air Traffic Service (ATS) authority.

9 Visual ground signals

This may be displayed by an AFIS unit as specified by the appropriate ATS authority.

10 Flight plans

This service provided by AFIS would be comparable to the service provided by the ATS reporting office.

11 Co-ordination between an AFIS unit and the associated FIC or ACC

AFIS unit should ensure that the relevant FIC or ACC is informed regarding departures, arrivals and the AFIS aerodrome, vice versa.

12 Alerting service

Alerting service should be provided in accordance with the provisions.

13 Responsibilities of, and procedures for pilots

It is essential for pilots to establish and to maintain two-way radio communication with the AFIS unit to report their position, levels and all significant manoeuvres and intentions.

14 Promulgation of information

The information should include the following:

  • Identification of the aerodrome
  • Location and identification of the AFIS unit
  • Hours of operation of the AFIS unit
  • Lateral and vertical limits of the flight information zone (FIZ)
  • Language(s) used
  • Detailed description of the services provided, including alerting service and, if applicable, direction-finding service
  • Special procedures for application by pilots
  • Any other pertinent information
1. ICAO-INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION (1988). Aerodrome Flight Information Service .Circular 211-An/128. ICAO (Montreal, Canada). 1988.
2. This number corresponds to the paragraph number in the ICAO's Document. Missing paragraphs deal with examples and other information deemed not too important of a synopsis.

Want to know more?

ICAO-INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION (1988). Aerodrome Flight Information Service .Circular 211-An/128. ICAO (Montreal, Canada). 1988.

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