ICAO Annex 17: Security : Safeguarding International Civil Aviation Against Acts of Unlawful Interference.


This manual was developed by ICAO and provides the standard procedures and guidance for the Civil Aviation Industry, on how to safeguard the industry against acts of unlawful interference. The manual offers a guide to assist each contracting state in the implementation of their own national Civil Aviation Security Programme in accordance with ICAO1. The manual is composed of five chapters with the first offering definitions on terms used throughout the manual. This Wiki contribution will offer a summery of the chapters mainly two to five.

Chapter 1. Definitions

The words that this chapter offers definitions to are listed below1;

  • Acts of unlawful Interference
  • Aerial Work
  • Aircraft security check
  • Aircraft security search
  • Airside
  • Background check
  • Cargo
  • Certification
  • Commercial air transport operation
  • Corporate aviation
  • Disruptive passenger
  • General aviation operation
  • Human Factors Principles
  • Human Performance
  • Regulated agent
  • Screening
  • Security
  • Security audit
  • Security control
  • Security inspection
  • Security restricted area
  • Security survey
  • Security test
  • Unidentified baggage

Chapter 2- General Principles

2.1 Objective

2.1.1 Primary objective of each contracting state is safe guarding its passengers, ground personnel, crew as well as the general public against any acts of unlawful interference.

2.1.2 Taking into account safety, regularity and efficiency of flights each contracting state should have an organization that's responsible for organizing its practices, procedures and the development and implementation of regulations to safe guard against unlawful interference.

2.1.3 Contracting states shall ensure the organization that is responsible for their regulations, practices and procedures does the following;

a) Protects the safety of its crew both on the ground and in the air as well as safeguards the general public as well from acts of unlawful interference.

b) Able to respond quickly to any increases in security threat.

2.1.2Recommendations- Each contracting state should ensure the protection of any aviation security information.

2.2 Applicability

2.2.1 Contracting states will apply standards required and recommended practices that are contained in Annex 17 to all civil aviation operations.

2.2.2 Contracting states will ensure measures designed to safeguard against acts of unlawful interference are also applied to domestic operations where practicable after a risk assessment has been done.

2.3 Security & Facilitation

Recommendation- Contracting states whenever possible should arrange security procedures and controls to cause a minimum interference provided effectiveness of the procedures and controls is not compromised.

2.4 International Cooperation

2.4.1 Each contracting state shall ensure any requests from other contracting states for additional security measures are met in regards to specific flights as far as may be practical.

2.4.2 Each contracting state shall cooperate with other states in the development and exchange of information that regards national civil aviation in the following areas; training programmes, security programmes and quality control programmes.

2.4.3 Each contracting state shall develop and implement procedures to share with other states,'threat information', applicable to aviation security interests of those states.

2.4.4 Each contracting state shall develop and implement safe protection and handling procedures for the protection of security information shared with other states or security information that affects the security of other contracting states.

2.4.5 Recommendation- If other states request it each a state should share its audit results carried out by ICAO and any actions that were taken by the audited state should also be revealed.

2.4.6 If the case where there bilateral agreements between states, a clause must be included in regards to aviation security taking into account the model clause developed by ICAO.

2.4.7 Upon request contracting states should provide a written version of requested parts of its national civil aviation security programme.

2.4.8 When information has been shared with other states ICAO should be notified of the information that was shared.

2.5 Equipment Research & Development

2.5.1 Recommendation-Each Contracting state should promote the development of new security equipment through research and cooperation with other contracting states.

2.5.2 Each contracting state shall ensure that any development of new security equipment considers ,Human Factors Principles.

Chapter 3: Organization

3.1 National Organization & Appropriate Authority

3.1.1 Each contracting state should establish and implement written security programmes.

3.1.2 ICAO should be notified of the authority chosen within the administration of an organization to handle the development, implementation and maintenance of their security programme.

3.1.3 Each contracting state should constantly review the level of threat to aviation in their territory and establish any new procedures accordingly, as well as notify ICAO of the changes.

3.1.4 Appropriate aviation security authorities in each state should define and allocate tasks as well as coordinate activities between the required departments and agencies.

3.1.5 Each contracting state shall establish a security committee for the purpose of coordinating security activities between departments and agencies.

3.1.6 The appropriate aviation security authority in each state should develop and implement training programmes for personnel involved in the industry to ensure the effectiveness of the security programme.

3.1.7 Recommendation-Each contracting state shall ensure programmes and the programme trainer meet the standards required by the appropriate authorities.

3.1.8 Ensure supporting security resources and facilities are issued by the appropriate authorities.

3.1.9 Each contracting state should have written versions of its security programme guidelines issued to its aircraft operators and airport, so as to enable them to meet the requirements for security.

3.2 Airport Operations

3.2.1 Each contracting state shall ensure it maintains and implements written airport security programmes that are in accordance with their national civil aviation security requirement.

3.2.2 Each contracting state shall ensure at each airport there is an authority responsible for the coordination and implementation of security controls.

3.2.3 Each contracting state shall have a security committee at each airport that assists in the coordination and implementation of security programmes.

3.2.4 Each contacting state will integrate any changes to its architecture and infrastructure necessary for the implementation of security measures into the design as well as alter any existing facilities at the airport to meet the security requirements.

3.3 Aircraft Operations

3.3.1 Each contracting state shall establish, implement and maintain a written operator security programme.

3.3.2 Recommendation-Each contracting state using aircraft with a maximum take off mass that is greater than 5700kg should implement and maintain a written security programme.

3.3.3 Each contracting state conducting aerial work should have an established, maintained and implemented security programme.

3.3.4 Each contracting state should in-cooperate ICAO's model as a basis for operators under 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.3

3.3.5 Contracting states partaking in code-sharing or any arrangement programmes must notify the required authorities regarding the nature of the agreement.

3.4 Quality Control
3.4.1 Persons implementing security control programmes are subject to security background checks.

3.4.2 Persons implementing security controls should pass all competency requirements for the job as well as be trained accordingly.

3.4.3 Personnel carrying out screening should be certified in accordance to the requirements of the national civil aviation security programme.

3.4.4 Appropriate authorities must develop, implement and maintain a quality control programme to determine compliance of the programme.

3.4.5 Security measures are subjected to verification of compliance.

3.4.6 Each contracting state shall arrange for surveys, inspections and security audits on a regular basis to verify compliance.

3.4.7 Managements setting of priorities and organization of the quality control programme will be carried out as an independent entity.

3.4.8 States concerned with acts of unlawful interference should re-evaluate its security procedures and controls and fix areas of weakness. ICAO must be notified of any changes to procedures ans system controls.

Chapter 4 Preventive Security Measures

4.1 Objective - Each contracting state should have measures in place, preventing unlawful interference occurring on or off the aircraft.

4.2 Measures Relating To Access Control.

4.2.1 Access to airside at airports is controlled to prevent against unauthorized entry.

4.2.2 Each contracting state shall ensure that security restricted areas are implemented at airports based on security risk assessments.

4.2.3 Contracting state shall ensure identification systems are in place to safeguard security restricted areas at airports.

4.2.4 Security checks are done on airport personnel who require entry into security restricted areas.

4.2.5 Movement of vehicles and personnel in security restricted areas should be supervised.

4.2.6 Apart from traveling passengers others gaining access to security restricted areas should be screened.

4.2.7 Recommendation-Identity documents should be reliable and on an international basis for aircraft crew.

4.2.8 Checks specific to 4.2.4 should be done on a regular basis.

4.3 Measures Relating To Aircraft.

4.3.1 Aircraft security checks or searches will be carried out based on risk assessment or upon procedure.

4.3.2 The correct measures are used to ensure traveling passengers don't leave any item on-board the aircraft after disembarking.

4.3.3 During flight unauthorized persons must not enter the crew compartment.

4.3.4 Subject to 4.3.1 the aircraft should be protected from interference from the time of search till takeoff.

4.3.5 Recommendation- Each contracting state shall ensure security controls are in place to safeguard the aircraft and restricted area against unlawful interference.

4.4 Measures Relating To Passengers & Their Cabin Luggage

4.4.1-4.4.2 Passengers and their cabin baggage are to be screened before boarding.

4.4.3 Passengers and baggage screened should be protected from unauthorized interference.

4.4.4 Transit passengers and their cabin luggage should be protected against unlawful interference.

4.5 Measures Relating To Hold Luggage

4.5.1 Luggage is to be screened prior to being loaded onto the aircraft.

4.5.2 Hold luggage to be carried onto the aircraft should be protected against interference.

4.5.3 Luggage must no go on-board the aircraft unidentified.

4.5.4 Hold luggage must be screened before being loaded onto the aircraft.

4.5.5 Only individually identified luggage which has undergone screening is to go on-board the aircraft.

4.5.6 Recommendation- Each contracting state shall have procedures in place to deal with unidentified luggage.

4.7 Measures Relating To Special Categories Of Passengers.

4.7.1 Development of procedures should be in place, specifying how to deal with the carrying of disruptive passengers who may be subject to judicial or administrative proceedings.

4.7.2 Measures, procedures, should be included in the written security programme specifying 4.7.1

4.7.3 In the case of 4.7.1 the pilot should be notified that such a passenger is on-board the aircraft.

4.7.4 Special authorization is required for law enforcement officers who wish carry their weapons on-board.

4.7.5 Each contracting state shall consider requests from other states in regards to whether to allow for travel of armed personnel.

4.7.6 The carrying of weapons on-board an aircraft will only be allowed if its not loaded and stored in a manner satisfactory to the security personnel.

4.7.7 Contracting states that decide to have security officers on-board must ensure they are government personnel and are properly trained.

4.7.8 Pilot-in-command should be notified of any armed passenger on-board with their seat allocation as well.

Chapter 5 Management Of Response To Acts Of Unlawful Interference.

5.1 Prevention

5.1.1 When reliable information has been given regarding unlawful interference the proper measures should be taken to safeguard the aircraft and the relevant authorities and ATC notified.

5.1.2 When reliable information is given an aircraft may be searched for concealed weapons, dangerous devices and explosives with proper notification to authorities.

5.1.3 Proper arrangements should be made to manage, investigate or dispose of any devices suspected to harm.

5.1.4 Contingency plans must be developed with proper resources made available.

5.1.5 Authorized and suitably trained personnel should be ready and available to deploy at airports should the need arise.

5.2 Response

5.2.1-5.2.2 Appropriate action must be taken to safeguard crew and passengers if an aircraft is subjected to acts of unlawful interference.

5.2.3 Each contracting state must assist another when their aircraft is subject to unlawful interference if its concerns them.

5.2.4 Aircraft's subjected to unlawful seizure that have landed in another contracting state's territory should be detained on the ground unless its departure id paramount due to the need to protect life.

5.2.5 In accordance with 5.2.4 the contracting state involved shall notify the state of registry of the aircraft and state of the operator of the landing as well as any other information deemed relevant.

5.3 Exchange Of Information & Reporting

5.3.1 States that experienced the act of unlawful interference shall notify ICAO of the security aspects of the interference once the act has been resolved.

5.3.2 Recommendation- The exchange of information management and response to acts of unlawful interference should be shared with other contracting states as well as ICAO.

Annex 17 offers clear guidelines on how each contracting state should protect itself from acts of unlawful interference.


1.INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION.(2006).Annex 17: Security. Safeguarding International Civil Aviation Against Acts of Unlawful Interference(8ed). ICAO. Montreal:Canada.

Want to know more?

INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION.(2006).Annex 17: Security. Safeguarding International Civil Aviation Against Acts of Unlawful Interference(8ed). ICAO. Montreal:Canada.

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Melanie AttanMelanie Attan

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