Air transport

Safety of navigation and communications

Air transport safety is a complex and multi-dimensional issue.
IEC Standards are central to two of its major aspects:

  • navigation and communications, which depend on avionics
  • and the movement of aircraft both in the air and on the ground as they land or take off, which is guided by AGL (airfield ground lighting)

The current highly advanced state of both these aspects is the result of decades of technical developments and of the introduction of ever more advanced standards.


Who uses IEC Standards?

ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization)

Air traffic safety is guided at the international level by the 1944 Chicago Convention which established the ICAO, a UN agency that organizes and regulates air transport. The Convention (now in its ninth edition) contains annexes supported by SARPs (standards and recommended practices). SARPs are specifications that are recognized as necessary or desirable in the interests of the safety, regularity or efficiency of international air navigation.

The ICAO recommends or mandates that certain types of avionics systems are fitted to civilian aircraft of particular categories.

Operational requirements for AGL are specified in Annex 14 to the Chicago Convention, which applies to the design and operation of aerodromes.


ACI (Airports Council International)

ACI (Airports Council International), the global trade body that represents close to 2'000 airports in approximately180 countries and territories, is a customer of IEC Standards for AGL.


IEC TC 107: Process management for avionics

IEC TC 107 develops processes for using and managing components that meet the requirements of the avionics industry (cost, lifetime, quality, reliability, safety, performance, etc.), taking into consideration rapid change in electronics, obsolescence, and wear and tear.

IEC TC 107 is a supplier of Standards to ISO/TC 20: Aircraft and space vehicles, and ISO/TC 20/SC1: Aerospace electrical requirements.

TC 107 does not prepare international standards for the components (integrated circuits and assemblies) used in the avionics industry, these are developed by other IEC TCs.


IEC TC 97: Electrical installations for lighting and beaconing of aerodromes

IEC TC 97 prepares international standards for the design, installation, operation and maintenance of aeronautical ground lighting of aerodromes. The activity covers requirements which apply to the whole system from the incoming power to the aerodrome up to and including the luminaires used in aeronautical ground lighting.

More examples by industry sector

Navigation and communications

Measuring efficiency

Rapidly evolving and highly regulated

Measuring energy performance

Dependent on electric and electronic components

Cutting across many different industry sectors

Protection from interference

Electrical equipment and systems for railways

Safety, security and the environment

Power consumption tests

Test procedures