The safety, security, efficiency, regularity, and sustainable development of international civil aviation operations revolve around a web of well-defined legal, policy, regulatory and methodological frameworks, which prescribe, inter alia, mandatory, advisory, prescriptive or discretionary requirements in respect of interactivities within the civil aviation community. In relation to this body of legal, policy, regulatory and methodological frameworks, the Convention on International Civil Aviation (otherwise known as the Chicago Convention, 1944) clearly represents the locus classicus. The Chicago Convention, which governs the activities of Contracting States of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), incorporates 96 Articles and embodies, to date, 19 Annexes and five PANS (Procedures for Air Navigation). Of the 19 Annexes to the Chicago Convention, sixteen deal with safety and contingent subject-matters such as the efficiency and security of international air navigation. This paper undertakes an exploration of the conceptual dimensions of aviation safety within the broader context of safety. It also examines the growing safety ramifications of CNS/ATM (communication, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management) systems and functionalities; identifies the critical elements of the aviation safety web; and discusses emerging issues and challenges in air navigation safety. Emphasis is placed on the need for globally-inclusive considerations in respect of a harmonized approach to the regulation of all the safety-critical elements of air navigation service, particularly in relation to system and personnel certification considerations in the CNS/ATM realm in view of the changing roles of air traffic safety electronics personnel (ATSEP) – the ICAO recognized nomenclature for personnel involved and proven competent in the installation, operation, and/or maintenance of a CNS/ATM system.

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