International Civil Aviation Organization Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu extended the United Nation aviation agency’s profound appreciation for the numerous regional organizations it works within Europe during a keynote address at the 66th Special Meeting of Directors General of Civil Aviation for the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC).
Liu put the spotlight on a number of current and rising issues for the civil aviation sector of Europe and the global air transport sector in general, and noted that capacity challenges would be of particular interest to European governments, and that incessant surges in traffic volumes are making the goal of guaranteeing maximum operational capacity and efficiency more intricate.
“Airport operators and air navigation service providers must therefore remain diligent in managing their traffic demand against the capabilities which existing airport and ATM systems can safely support,” Liu said.
The ICAO top honcho also kept her European audience up to date on the progress of the aviation emissions offsetting agreement, CORSIA, which was agreed to at ICAO’s 39th Assembly last October. The UN agency is currently conducting a worldwide outreach to raise awareness regarding the program, and is settling its Monitoring, Reporting and Verification system, amongst other technical requirements.
“I am tremendously encouraged that countries representing almost 90 per cent of international flight operations, including all of the ECAC and EU States, have already committed to participate in the CORSIA from its earliest pilot phase,” Liu stressed.
During her stay in Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik, Liu met with Iceland’s President Mr. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson during the reception. She also met with Iceland’s Permanent Secretary of its Ministry of Transport and Local Government, Ragnhildur Hjaltadottir, and the State’s main air navigation service provider, ISAVIA.
Hjaltadottir expressed how significant ICAO is to Iceland’s aviation sector, while Liu expounded how the State’s increasing aviation connectivity with other countries and regions would bring about better and sustainable economic growth to the benefit of Icelandic citizens and companies.
Liu remarked that a fundamental requirement to augment these prosperity benefits would be to confirm sufficient financial and human resources for the State’s Civil Aviation Authority, and improved compliance with ICAO global standards and policies. She also suggested Iceland integrate aviation capacity and modernization requirements in the State’s National Development Plan.
Liu also expressed her gratitude to Iceland for its sustained leadership on volcanic ash exercises and contingency plans for the ICAO European and North Atlantic Regions, and underlined key emerging issues its government should remain aware of moving forward, such as unmanned aircraft systems and cyber security vigilance.
Hjaltadottir confirmed to Liu Iceland’s steadfast devotion to the progress of civil aviation and the recognition of aviation development primacies in its National Development Plan. She agreed to take a closer look into the needs of its Civil Aviation Authority and offer the right resources
She responded that the State is looking towards establishing closer ties with ICAO in support of ongoing CORSIA implementation, including through training and capacity building initiatives for developing countries. Iceland also concurred favorably with Liu’s offer to consider seconding experts to ICAO, and to bolster its cooperation with the UN agency regarding volcanic ash issues and participation in ICAO meetings.