Aeronautical Information Service

One of the least known but yet a vital role in support of international civil aviation is that of an aeronautical information service (AIS) unit.  The objective of the AIS Unit is to provide a timely flow of accurate information necessary for the safety, regularity and efficiency of international air navigation.  AIS performs an essential role in providing all the necessary airport and en-route information required by visiting aircraft as well as notifying any sudden  changes to previously provided information.

The responsibilities of AIS are many and include the collection and dissemination of information on the serviceability and availability of aerodrome facilities including lighting, navigation aids and emergency services as well as providing warnings of potentially hazardous conditions.  In addition, the unit will be responsible for collecting and publishing survey data to identify any changes in the local obstacle environment and will maintain databases of aircraft movements and other information required by either the Airport Authority or the Civil Aviation Authority.

A major responsibility of the unit is to receive and transmit aircraft flight plans making the details of incoming and outgoing flights available so that national and international air traffic services can plan and sequence the safe movement of aircraft in their respective airspace.

In the Cayman Islands the Aeronautical Information Service (AIS), is a function of the  Cayman Islands Airports Authority, and is responsible for the collection and dissemination of information for the entire Territory together with the airspace over the high seas encompassed by its Terminal Control Area.  The Aeronautical Information Service consists of AIS Headquarters at Owen Roberts International Airport and AIS unit at Charles Kirkconnell International Airport, Cayman Brac, with the Kingston (Jamaica) acting as the International NOTAM Office.

ICAO Responsibilities

The process by which aeronautical information is managed is governed by ICAO Annex 15 which defines how an AIS Unit shall originate or receive, process and distribute specified aeronautical information to satisfy the requirement to deliver the timely, uniform and consistent information required to ensure the safe and expeditious operation of international civil aviation.

Annex 15 requires that aeronautical information should be published as an integrated aeronautical information package (IAIP), composed of the following elements:

  1. The Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) including amendment services
  2. AIP Supplements
  3. Aeronautical Information Circulars (AIC)
  4. Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) including checklists and lists of valid NOTAMs
  5. Pre-light Information Bulletins (PIB)

Each element of the IAIP provides a specific type of aeronautical information.

Regulatory Requirements

Article 7(1) of The Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order 2013, AN(OT)O (the Order) as amended, gives effect to the Convention on International Civil Aviation requiring the Governor to ensure that the Annexes to the Convention are complied with. Thereafter, Article 7(2)(d) requires the Governor to provide or secure an aeronautical information service whilst Article 7(3) requires the provision of an Aeronautical Information Publication for the Territory.
Consequently, Article 7 of the Order identifies the requirement for the provision of an AIS and for its regulation under Annex 15. In addition, ASSI have published OTAR 175,176 and 177 which provide additional regulation of AIS and associated service/products.

In addition, OTAR 139.33 (b) (6)(ii) specifies that for an aerodrome to be certified, appropriate arrangements must be in place for the provisions of the Aeronautical Information Service.

OTAR Part Certification of Aerodromes, Subpart 139.B.31 (e) (6) (i) specifies that for an aerodrome to be certified, appropriate arrangements must be in place for the provisions of the Aeronautical Information Service. OTAR: Part 139 Certification of Aerodromes

There are no OTARs for Annex 15 (AIS), so regulatory audits of the service provider will ascertain conformance with the provisions of Annex 15 itself in relation to the services set out by the Governor.

To ensure published data is not intentionally compromised, vigilance must be exercised. Mechanisms for this include:

  • The airport has the authority for the creation of an airport regulation to assess the acceptability and marking requirements pertaining to the erection of new structures in the vicinity of their facility; and
  • The Civil Aviation Authority has the authority over the use of lasers, lights and fireworks to prevent risks to aircraft operating in the area. Further information can be found in the Notification of Outdoor Laser, Search Light or Fireworks Operations.