The need for practical application of air navigation services and facilities and their co-ordinated implementation in specific areas where operating conditions and other relevant parameters were comparable lead to the decision to sub-divide the surface of the earth into a number of "regions" within which distinct and specific air navigation problems of a similar nature existed.
For each of those regions, Regional Supplementary Procedures (SUPPS) are developed and published in ICAO Doc 7300: Regional Supplementary Procedures. These Procedures must not be in conflict with the provisions contained in the ICAO Annexes or PANS.
The SUPPS do not have the same status as SARPS. The latter are recommended to Contracting States for worldwide use, whilst the former are recommended to Contracting States for application in the groups of flight information regions to which they are relevant.
Regional Structure History and Current Status
Initially, in 1945, the world was divided into 10 air navigation regions: the North Atlantic, European-Mediterranean, Middle East, Caribbean, South East Asia, South Atlantic, South Pacific, North Pacific, South America and African-Indian Ocean.
This structure was reviewed in 1952 and the regions were reduced to eight. The North and South Pacific regions were merged as well as the South American and South Atlantic.
In the late 50s a new rearrangement became necessary to overcome certain problems such as those posed by the overlapping of the regions and by the non-inclusion of certain areas. This was finalized in 1964. The decision increased the number of regions to nine, eliminated any overlapping between regions, included the associated polar areas in the regions, changed the name of the European-Mediterranean Region to the European Region, and established a North American Region to encompass Canada, the United States and the associated polar area.
In 1980, the South East Asian Region was renamed as the Asia Region.
The present regional structure, as defined in Appendix 1 to the Directives to Regional Air Navigation Meetings and Rules of Procedure for their Conduct (Doc 8144-AN/874), comprises the following regions:
- Africa-Indian Ocean Region (AFI);
- Asia Region (ASIA);
- Caribbean Region (CAR);
- European Region (EUR);
- Middle East Region (MID);
- North American Region (NAM);
- North Atlantic Region (NAT);
- Pacific Region (PAC);
- South American Region (SAM).
A map of ICAO Regions and corresponding FIRs: