Aeronautical information is updated in several ways, usually the most urgent would be using a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) which is like an old school bulletin type stuff which really for our time has become obsolete and a better system is needed. Efforts towards this are being made with Digital NOTAM and other initiatives, except that these seem more like a palliative than a fundamental restructuring into something better.

Besides NOTAM, we have Supplements, Circulars and amendments which updates the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) and the topic of this blog is specifically about amending the Aeronautical Information Publication trough Amendments.

Currently there are two types of amendments that can be used to update the AIP, these are regular and AIRAC amendments. What is AIRAC?

AIRAC stands for Aeronautical Information Regulation And Control and stems from the ICAO Annex 15 – Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) document and defines a series of common dates and an associated standard aeronautical information publication procedure for States.

CALENDAR YEAR 2016
Cycle Ident RAD Cut-Off (D -56) RAD Publication D -28) AIRAC
1 1601 12 NOV 15 10 DEC 15 07 JAN 16
2 1602 10 DEC 15 07 JAN 16 04 FEB 16
3 1603 07 JAN 16 04 FEB 16 03 MAR 16
4 1604 04 FEB 16 03 MAR 16 31 MAR 16
5 1605 03 MAR 16 31 MAR 16 28 APR 16
6 1606 31 MAR 16 28 APR 16 26 MAY 16
7 1607 28 APR 16 26 MAY 16 23 JUN 16
8 1608 26 MAY 16 23 JUN 16 21 JUL 16
9 1609 23 JUN 16 21 JUL 16 18 AUG 16
10 1610 21 JUL 16 18 AUG 16 15 SEP 16
11 1611 18 AUG 16 15 SEP 16 13 OCT 16
12 1612 15 SEP 16 13 OCT 16 10 NOV 16
13 1613 13 OCT 16 10 NOV 16 08 DEC 16

Source: https://www.nm.eurocontrol.int/RAD/common/airac_dates.html

Regular amendments are those that can be sent in any date with information that does not need to be provided in advance according to the AIRAC rules, .

With this background information I will now articulate 5 reasons why we should ditch regular AMDT and use AIRAC only

  1. People sometimes publish information in Regular AMDT that should have been published using AIRAC. I mean with so much information overload it’s a matter of time when you start mixing things.
  2. People sometimes publish and distribute Regular AMDT on the same date not providing time to receive the changes and process them. Of course this means a little bit of lack of understanding of ICAO SARPs and documentation but then again isn’t it much of it just recommendations and open to interpretations.
  3. AIRAC AMDT are expected on specific dates and if no publication is made a NIL notification using NOTAM is received, this makes its predictability an asset for everyone. Usually AIS personnel think they can send regular AMDT on whatever date, you should actually publish when you will in your AIP

    I bet all stakeholders expecting AMDTs start shivering once they get regular AMDT at the last minute and then find out critical information has been included.

  4. AIRAC AMDT is really an efficient way to update information, instead of getting hundred of pages to update every 6 months or so, you get small packets you can process 42 days in advance (good luck with that at most you get 28 days if they are very proficient) making it way easier to deal with
  5. Really if information can be provided in a Regular AMDT it surely can be provided in an AIRAC AMDT

Common ICAO people, just come into the 21st century, acknowledge things are different now and please eliminate unnecessary complexity

 

 


4 Comments

Mirtha Angeles · April 3, 2016 at 7:09 am

Hello, allow me to express my point of view about AIRAC. We all know that AIRAC regulates the publishing of aeronautical information; however this is not any kind of information. In order to be considered as AIRAC information, there are certain requirements that must be complied with so that the information published under this ‘label: AIRAC’ is disseminated.
For instance when there are changes in a TMA, these changes are not done in a day or two, this is a process that is well planned and made for a reason, maybe a transition to a new TMA structure, enhancement of SID, STAR, IAC, whatsoever applies. Thus these changes mean there must be actions to be taken such as personnel training (ATCOs, AIS, Flight dispatchers, pilots ), let alone database updating , that is why the information must arrive to the final users 28 days in advance (28 days= 1 AIRAC cycle) in case of information that is relevant such as procedures.
In case of major changes such as changes in the structure of the Flight information region the information must arrive 56 days beforehand (2 AIRAC cycles)
This is the nature of AIRAC, that is the reason why the information must arrive to us (users/members of the aeronautical community) 28 days before in order to get familiar with that information, to learn and acquire the new and get rid or try to get rid of the old patterns we already mastered, so that the heads make decisions so that their personnel gets trained and everyone gets to know about these changes by the time the information comes into force.
Now I agree with you when you say that sometimes the information arrives too late and it was something really significant, however it was published as any ordinary piece of information, in any case certain States should consider to evaluate the information in order to decide whether what kind of information must be published under IARAC and what information must not. The criteria established in 8126 ICAO document must be taken into consideration so that we are not overloaded with information that in the end is not as relevant as the one meant to be published under AIRAC and vice versa.
I dare say that ordinary amendments that are published under common dates must be a compilation of PERM NOTAMs or minor changes that do not require the training of personnel. AIRAC is ok to me as long as all states comply with the delivery of the information and the users are well aware of the importance of AIRAC in the terms of training and familiarization with the information before the time because that is the essence of AIRAC, the priority that is given to the information.

    antoniolocandro · April 17, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Hi thanks for your coment and well articulated response, I think though that is less problematic to have “irrelevant” aeronautical data published in AIRAC cycles than to publish operational relevant data as Regular AMDT; especially when some publishing offices still believe that regular AMDT can be pushed without any requirement to be received before effective date.

    Irrelevant data served in AIRAC AMDT can be easily sorted out through procedures, this is not the case the other way around. Anyway the idea is to raise awareness of the implications of not following procedures, I still believe we can cope with just AIRAC AMDTs published at the regular interval containing everything, this also makes it easier for software providers and data processing IMHO.

      mara · June 18, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      Hi,
      Reading this topic about AIRAC,could I please ask for your opinion about the importance of AIRAC in modern aviation?
      Thank you!

        antoniolocandro · September 4, 2019 at 3:12 am

        AIRAC is needed for several reasons I will write a post about it and sorry for the late reply

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