Welcome back to our Word of the Week!

Every week, we look together at a word that is either interesting, funny or mysterious and that appeals to all of us in the aviation community.

AIRAC: AIRAC is an acronym (an abbreviation consisting of the first letters of each word in the name of something, pronounced as a word) that stands for Aeronautical Information Regulation And Control. It is a publishing system that creates a schedule for the publication of aeronautical information. It comes from ICAO Annex 15 (Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) document).

In short, it defines that in all instances, information provided under the AIRAC system shall be distributed by the AIS unit at least 42 days in advance of the effective date with the objective of reaching recipients at least 28 days in advance of the effective date. Whenever major changes are planned and where additional notice is desirable and practicable, a publication date of at least 56 days in advance of the effective date should be used.

Three dates are to be remembered from this:

  • Publication Date: Date at which the AIS organization sends out the information. (Should be at least 42 days (56 for major changes) before effective date)
  • Reception Date: Date at which the user should receive the publications. (Should be at 28 days before the effective date)
  • Effective Date: Date at which changes take effect.

The two weeks between Publication Date and Reception Date were originally meant to allow for postal distribution.

A very common example is the publication of AIP amendments, and effective dates thereof, which always take the AIRAC cycle into account.

The AIRAC cycle was adopted in 1964 and continuously improved over the years.

The effective dates are valid around the world and are at 28 days intervals (e.g. 4 August 2005, 1 September 2005, 29 September 2005, …). Effective dates are always on a Thursday.

It may look indeed like a long period, 28 days, or even 56, but it should be understood that aeronautical information changes (mostly published through so called AIRAC Amendments) require:

  1. Changes to local systems which includes interpreting, re-typing and re-coding the information;
  2. Verification and Correction as publications are unfortunately seldom perfect;
  3. Validation against other data;
  4. Re-distribution. (Think of charts and Flight Management Systems requiring distribution to a fleet which can be anywhere in the world.)

Have a nice week, and see you next Wednesday for a new word of the week!