The ACR-PCR system

The ACR-PCR system

The use of the standardized method of reporting pavement strength applies only to pavements at public use airports with bearing strengths of 12,500 pounds (5,700 kg) or greater. The method of reporting pavement strength for pavements of less than 12,500 pounds (5,700 kg) is to only report the gross weight and gear configuration of the aircraft that can be accommodated.

Harmonizing pavement load load-carrying capacity is required to optimize the use of aircraft and to safeguard the pavement’s integrity. The ACR-PCR system is structured so a pavement with a particular PCR value can support an aircraft that has an ACR value equal to or less than the pavement’s PCR value. This is possible because ACR represents a scale for relative pavement damage and PCR values are computed using the States technical method for structural pavement design.

The ACR-PCR (Aircraft Classification Rating – Pavement Classification Rating) system for rating airport pavements will replace the ACN-PCN method.

  • Proposed amendment to Annex 14 on ACR-PCR has gone through State review with no objections.
  • After formal adoption by the ICAO Air Navigation Committee, the ANC agreed on a four-year transition period from ACN-PCN to ACR-PCR:
    • Effective date July 2020
    • Full applicability November 2024
    • During transition, both systems will remain available
  • An updated ADM Part 3 with the new procedures has been published .
  • Training on ACR-PCR is planned

As per November 2024, the ACR-PCR method  is designated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as the only approved method for reporting strength of pavements. ICAO Annex 14 volume 9th Edition, July 2022 states:

The ICAO system for civil airport pavements involves comparison of an airport’s Pavement Rating Number (PCR) with an Aircraft Rating Number (ACR). According to this world-wide ICAO standard, aircraft can safely operate on a pavement if their ACR is less than or equal to the pavement load bearing capacity or PCR. An aircraft having an ACR equal to or less than the PCR can operate without weight restrictions on a pavement. The PCR is formally published in an Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP).

In 2009, ICAO established a Study Group to investigate updating the international method of reporting pavement strengths. The study group developed, and ICAO adopted with Amendment 15 to Annex 14, the Aircraft Classification Rating - Pavement Classification Rating (ACR-PCR) method. Using this method, it is possible to express the effect of an individual aircraft on different pavements with a single unique number, the Aircraft Classification Rating (ACR). ACR varies according to aircraft weight and configuration (e.g. tire pressure, gear geometry, etc.), pavement type, and subgrade strength. Conversely, the load-carrying capacity of a pavement can be expressed by a single unique number, Pavement Classification Rating (PCR), without specifying a particular aircraft or detailed information about the pavement structure.