Montréal and Port Louis, 18 October 2017 – Delivering his keynote address to the 27th ACI AFRICA/WORLD Conference in Port Louis, Mauritius, on the theme of ‘bold leadership in a time of change’, ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu highlighted sectoral growth, commercial space flight and emerging unmanned and remotely-piloted aircraft technologies as some of the key challenges facing contemporary civil aviation leaders and planners.
“While our continued sectoral growth is a desirable outcome, it is also our greatest challenge,” Dr. Aliu stressed, “but beyond growth there is also a very exciting and rapid evolution now underway in the field of commercial space flights, and especially unmanned aerial vehicle technologies; one which many feel is signalling the dawn of an entirely new era in civil aviation.”
Regarding growth, President Aliu highlighted that the projected doubling of flight and passenger volumes by the early 2030s poses significant risks to air transport safety performance, network capacity and efficiency, security preparedness, and emissions mitigation targets. He also remarked upon the risks it poses to air transport’s role in supporting enhanced sustainable prosperity wherever States have established ICAO-compliant aviation connectivity.
“Sustained negative performance impacts would not only be unacceptable, they would also pose significant risks to the basic value offerings of air services,” he noted. “Furthermore they would threaten air transport’s role as a significant engine for sustainable socio-economic development, and especially for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as Mauritius which depend significantly on air transport for their tourism industry and global connectivity more generally.”
“One of the most important prerequisites for future air transport sustainability depends on the quality and extent of the infrastructure and human resources development commitments which governments make today,” he added.
In response to these numerous and diverse challenges, President Aliu noted that ICAO has set out detailed planning and targets which have been endorsed by ICAO’s Member States in the agency’s Global Plans for aviation safety and air navigation. He further added that aviation security responses and coordination would be benefitting from a similar Global Plan for aviation Security, which is expected to be endorsed by the ICAO Council in November.
“As the United Nations agency for international civil aviation, ICAO facilitates coordination among our Member States, but also serves as the global platform for collaboration between national governments and the many industry stakeholders comprising international air transport’s very dynamic community,” he commented. “This affords us a uniquely comprehensive perspective from which to identify key challenges for air transport, as well as to coordinate global responses to them.”
Some of the further responses highlighted by the Council President in this regard included ICAO’s World Aviation Forums, which are helping governments, partners and investors to work with one another more effectively on large-scale aviation development projects, ICAO’s inaugural Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) Global Summit, which seeks to ensure a sufficient skilled workforce to handle future sectoral demand, and the numerous means by which ICAO has been forging progress and cooperation of late to help minimize air transport’s environmental impacts.
“I would further like to reaffirm our commitment to continue to assist our Member States in optimizing the incredible benefits of aviation under our No Country Left Behind initiative,” he added, and in concluding stressed how more progress will be achieved on the basis of the excellent cooperation established between States, ACI and other industry stakeholders through ICAO.
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A specialized agency of the United Nations, ICAO was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, amongst many other priorities. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 191 Member States.