The Aviation Committee (AVC) is the senior civil-military NATO body which advises the North Atlantic Council on all relevant aspects contributing to aviation safety and security, in support of the full range of NATO’s missions.
- The Aviation Committee’s mission is to advise the North Atlantic Council (NAC) on aspects contributing to aviation safety and security, in support of the full range of NATO’s missions.
- The AVC enables the Alliance to adapt to the rapidly evolving security environment and to engage in global aviation modernisation efforts pursuing Alliance core tasks to operate, train and exercise in an increasingly complex and networked airspace.
- The AVC acts as NATO’s primary interface with international and regional civil aviation organisations and other relevant civil and military institutions in the aviation domain.
- The Committee reports directly to the NAC – NATO’s principal political decision-making body.
- Established in January 2016 by the NAC, it replaces the former Air Traffic Management Committee.
In order to achieve its mission, the primary AVC responsibility is to advise the NAC and seek guidance on all aviation matters of NATO interest and/or concern and to develop, represent and promote consensus views on related NATO policies, programmes and capabilities.
The focus lies on enhancing the overall effort and coherence of policy and capability development concerning relevant aspects of aviation with emphasis on interoperability, coordination of airspace access, rapid air mobility across the Alliance, airworthiness, integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), evaluation of cyber defence and other potential security threats to the aviation system. Another major task is assessing civil aviation projects which could affect the Alliance’s missions and capabilities, including the modernisation initiatives concerning safety, network capacity, effectiveness and environmental impact, such as the Single European Sky (SES/SESAR) in Europe and the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NEXTGEN) in the United States.
In fulfilling its tasks, the AVC is supported by:
- The Air Traffic Management – Communications, Navigation and Surveillance Advisory Group (ATM – CNS AG), established in 2011, providing policy guidance, standards and capability development on matters related to air traffic management, aeronautical systems and technologies, airfield capabilities, manned aircraft and UAS, on the basis of NATO ATM Policy;
- The Airworthiness Advisory Group (AWAG), providing guidance and standards on the implementation of NATO Airworthiness Policy on the basis of the principles of economy of effort, cooperation and interoperability;
- The joint NATO/Eurocontrol ATM Security Coordinating Group, established in 2003 on the basis of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the two organisations to act as a central civil and military platform to address aviation security issues of common concern, including cyber defence and the handling of air security incidents.
AVC meetings are chaired by the Director of the Armament and Aerospace Capabilities Directorate in NATO’s Defence Investment (DI) Division. A major requirement for use of airspace is worldwide coordination, so AVC meetings are organised in two formats.
The first one is restricted to NATO’s member states in order to enable the Allies to discuss sensitive aviation topics and to work on specific NATO aviation policies and capabilities.
The second one allows the Alliance and its partners to assess global and regional aviation developments and to consolidate coordinated and coherent policies and lines of action in support of aviation safety and security objectives. The AVC receives advice and support from representatives of the main international civil aviation organisations and relevant European Union institutions, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Eurocontrol, the European Commission, the European Defence Agency, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).