ICAO and major aviation groups launch new joint report on economic benefits of air transport

MONBTREAL – Aviation is essential to the economic development of cities, countries and regions everywhere, but governments can only optimize its benefits by addressing the sector’s critical infrastructure and resource needs in their national development strategies. That’s one of the key messages being conveyed jointly by ICAO and international aviation’s most prominent organizations in a special new 2017 report just released on Aviation Benefits.

The new Aviation Benefits report, aimed mainly at government Ministers and national planners, contains a summarized checklist of the steps to be taken to maximize air transport’s socio-economic influence. It presents helpful overviews of the related investment and partnership priorities to be pursued, as well as comprehensive regional summaries showing how aviation is improving prosperity all over the world. Its release comes just before World Tourism Day on 27 September 2017, helping to underscore the symbiotic links between positive tourism impacts and the level of aviation connectivity established in a given city or territory.

“Well over a billion tourists are crossing international borders each year,” remarked ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu, “and over half of these are travelling by air to their destinations – in fact over 80% in many island States. Aircraft also transport some 35% of world trade by value, and the lowering costs and expanding routes across our network mean that the economic benefits from tourism and other aviation connectivity impacts will only increase in the years ahead. This trend is further reinforced by the dramatic forecasts we’re seeing for future air traffic growth.”

The report also provides a comprehensive outline of how international aviation connectivity directly aids governments’ ongoing efforts to achieve 15 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals adopted under Agenda 2030.

“ICAO works hard to foster effective partnerships between donors, investors and needful States, and to assist governments in developing solid business cases with clearly defined returns for their major air transport development projects,” Dr. Liu added. “We have mapped out how well-supported air services greatly aid governments in attaining 15 of the 17 UN SDGs, and this report helps to reinforce for Ministers and government planners everywhere the importance of integrating their aviation development needs into their broader national development strategies.”

The publication is an outcome of the joint work of the Industry High Level Group (IHLG), led by ICAO Secretary General, Dr. Fang Liu, International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, Airports Council International (ACI) Director General, Angela Gittens, Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) Director General, Jeff Poole, and International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations (ICCAIA) Chairman, Jan Pie.

As the UN agency for aviation, ICAO directly supports these partnership and project planning priorities each year during its high-level ICAO World Aviation Forums, the next edition of which will be held late November in Abuja, Nigeria. 

ICAO Secretary General stresses priorities for Caribbean reconstruction and tourism sector resilience
In her address to the Directors General of Civil Aviation for the ICAO North and Central America and Caribbean (NACC) Region last week in Washington, D.C., ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu stressed the UN Aviation agency’s appreciation for the tremendous challenges being faced by local governments as they deal with the devastating impacts of the 2017 hurricane season.

“No one has escaped these impacts,” she commented. “The role of aviation in assuring rapid assistance has been important to the humanitarian responses undertaken thus far, and you may count on the partnership and generosity of everyone in this room as you now work to rebuild and reinvigorate the aviation and tourism services which are so essential to your economic vitality.”

Commercial aircraft carried more than 80 percent of the tourists who visited Caribbean Small Island States over 2016, and it is presently forecast that air transport and tourism will support some 9.7 million jobs and $430 billion dollars in regional GDP by 2034.

“ICAO encourages local leadership to seek to ensure that more robust infrastructure and facilities are rebuilt so that these important economic benefits are less exposed to future risks,” Dr. Liu added.

The 7th Meeting of NACC DGCAs which Dr. Liu was addressing focused directly on aviation development and the regional collaboration so essential to its success. ICAO and its Regional NACC Office in Mexico City have been supporting and guiding a range of capacitybuilding and assistance missions and partnerships in recent years under ICAO’s No Country Left Behind initiative, and in aid of local skilled human resource development needs, State Action Plans for aviation carbon emissions reduction, and other priorities.

Dr. Liu stressed that both public and private investment would be key to future air transport capacity and sustainability in the region, noting that “investors will be more eager to work with States which have a stable regulatory framework, and on projects where their return on investment is clearly outlined.”

ICAO aids States in developing these investor partnerships, and in fine-tuning their development project planning, through its annual ICAO World Aviation Forums. The next iteration of this event will be taking place this November in Abuja, Nigeria.

In addition to her main points on sustainable tourism and aviation development, Dr. Liu also updated the regional DGCAs on a range of programme priorities for ICAO today, including its new Global Aviation Security Plan, domestic airspace traffic management solutions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems being discussed at ICAO’s Drone Enable event this week, and the general need to strengthen civil aviation authorities and make them more autonomous in their roles and responsibilities.

While in Washington, Dr. Liu met with the Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Mr. Dan Elwell, and the U.S. Department of Transport’s (DOT) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affair, Ms. Susan McDermott. Dr. Liu discussed ICAO’s work on the expansion of ICAO’s programmes and activities over the years as mandated by Member States through its Assembly, related to, inter alia, aviation security, environmental protection, and CORSIA, as well as its ongoing organizational transformations with respect to performance-based management and results-based budgeting. The Secretary General expressed her gratitude to the United States for its generous voluntary contributions (financial and in kind) towards ICAO’s programme and activities, including for assistance initiatives aimed at local NACC States. Deputy Elwell, and Deputy Assistant Secretary McDermott assured the Secretary General of the U.S. commitment to continue supporting ICAO.

The Secretary General also met with U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials, and took time to recognize the progress and achievements of Ms. Shaesta Waiz of the Dreams Soar round-the-world flight for Sciency, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

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