Airline Operations Manual | Document Style and Setting


Airline Operations Manuals

In selecting a format for the operations manual, the primary criterion is that the manual be easily used and understood. The volume size should make the manual easy to handle by end users. 

The responsible one for preparing operations manual should use a paper with a good quality and printing and reproduction of the text and illustrations should be such that the material is readable under all operational conditions. in addition, the manuals should be in a format which is easily amendable, e.g., loose-leaf in a ring binder.


Furthermore, the operations manual should have a master subject index, possibly placed in the administration & control of the manual- usually known as chapter zero. Each volume should have its own subject index called table of contents at the beginning of each volume and for each chapter. 

Also, each page should be numbered and have a date of original issue. And, each volume should have a checklist of pages [ list of effective pages] identifying page numbers and dates of issue to ensure the validity of the contents.


The entry of each amendment and/or additional page should be recorded on a page specially provided in each volume for that purpose and signed for by the person making the amendment or addition.

To ensure adequate control of the volumes and their amendments, it is necessary to number each volume individually.

In revising or altering the contents of the operations manual, airlines shall have a process for gaining the State of the Operator approval for the updated contents of the operations manual. Such revising process must be mentioned in the chapter zero [ administration & control] of the operations manual.


I am so happy to write for you again, in this article I am going to give you full explanation about the operations manual structure, control, and pagination. In the future, I will try to explain you the process of preparation and updating operations manual.


ICAO Definition of Operations Manual

A manual is containing procedures, instructions and guidance for use by operational personnel in the execution of their duties. We understand from this definition that the operations manual is intended to remind employees of how to do their job. Also, it contains the standard operating procedures for the airline. 

The fact, is that operations manual does not substitute for training, but it should be containing sufficient standard operating procedures to allow a trained and competent person to adapt to the airline's specific procedures.


ICAO Annex 6 specifies that the issue of an air operator certificate by the State of the Operator shall be dependent upon the operator demonstrating an adequate organization, method of control and supervision of flight operations, training program as well as ground handling and maintenance arrangements consistent with the nature and extent of the operations specified.


Furthermore, as per Annex 6, the State of the Operator is required by ICAO to establish a system for both the certification and the continued surveillance of the operator to ensure that the required standards of operations are established prior to granting an AOC/AOP and are maintained. 

So, preparation of an OM by the Operator is for the use and guidance of Operations personnel. Airline operations manual must be approved / accepted by the State regulatory authority (CAA), that's way it is a vital element of the certification and surveillance process.


By the above short explanation, you understood the importance of operations manual, not only for airlines but it is important for each company.

Operations Manual Style and Setting

Operations manual should follow the standard style and setting in order to exhibit an organization wide consistency in documentation philosophy, format and presentation of contents. 

In this article, I will share with you my style in preparation of OM.  


Operations Manual Page Layout

You can use this page layout specifications one the first step.


Note : Page size : A4 in Microsoft Word it help you easy prepare the operations manual. Then, the file will be converted to pdf. As final step, is printed A5.


airline  manual page size


You need to use the following format when starting typing each chapter:

aviation manual headers font size


2.1     Training Department

2.1.1     Training Director

2.1.2 Command of Communication: 

·    Internal:  Communication with Instructors, Trainees, Training mgrs., and Other Directors in the same level within the company.

·    External:  Local & International Training Centers


For tables, you can use the following format.

aircraft operator  manual table format


manual table format

Operations Manual Page Layout Header-Footer

The Page Header will reflect the Manual Issue Number, the Revision Number, and the Date. See the example below.

 header-footer of aviation manual


This structure of the Flight Operations Manual Part-A observed Human Factors principles.


Operations Manual Contents and Arrangement

Unless otherwise specified by CAA, the contents of the operations manual should be organized as follows:

  1.      Manual Cover Page (MCP)
  2.      CAA Approval Page
  3.         Manual Control Sheet (MCS)
  4.       Table of Contents (TOC)
  5.        List of Effective Pages (LEP)
  6.         Record of Revision (ROR)
  7.        Record Transmittal (RT)
  8.         Controlled Distribution List (CDL)
  9.         Terminology & Meaning
  10.      Content body


This format is not a fixed format standard. It may be changed, for example, Controlled Distribution List (CDL), and Terminology & Meaning can be included in the chapter zero [ administration & control]





The Operations Manual prepared by airlines should follow certain format, Style and Setting as example what I described in this article. Furthermore, airlines must comply with certain standards & specifications in order to get the CAA approval for its operation manual. 

Well-structured operation manual help airlines to ensure effective production, amendment, distribution and/or uniform use of, or compliance with information relating to the company requirements.

 Take an example SMS Manual.

Maged Saeed AL-Hadabi

I’m Instructor / Maged Saeed Al-Hadabi. ​ Air Cargo / IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations / Safety Management System Senior Instructor, Auditor [ Yemen Airways] . Approved IATA DGR/ SMS Instructor by Yemen Civil Aviation Authority.

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