MONTREAL and ASTANA – Highlighting that only 5% of annual global development financing currently supports aviation infrastructure or related projects, ICAO Secretary General.
Dr. Fang Liu delivered a determined message to Kazakhstan’s political leaders last week on the need to prioritize air transport development in the years ahead and optimize the tremendous opportunities for economic development inherent in projected air transport growth.
“Our Organization is striving to raise global awareness of the direct links between ICAO compliant air connectivity and States’ wider SDG objectives,” Dr. Liu stated during her high-level address to a cross-section of Kazakhstan’s Ministers, senior officials and industry representatives.
The Central Asian State is currently ranked 15th in the Asia Pacific region for total scheduled passenger traffic, a figure that increased last year along with overall Asia-Pacific air traffic growth. From a global standpoint the Asia-Pacific accounted for 32.9% of global air traffic in 2016, making it the largest air transport market in the world.
“This makes our work to support compliance and sustainability crucial in the years ahead,” Dr. Liu stressed, “especially in light of the doubling of flight and passenger volumes now projected by 2030.”
In addition to her high-level address, Dr. Liu also held one-on-one meetings to discuss related aviation compliance, investment and development priorities with Mr. Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Alik Aidarbayev, First Vice-Minister Minister of Investments and Development, and with Mr. Yerzhan Ashikbayev, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Foreign Minister.
During these meetings, First Vice-Minister Minister Aidarbayev provided an overview of Kazakhstan’s air transport sector, inclusive of its liberalization and modernization efforts State-wide. Dr. Liu commended Kazakhstan’s safety progress and overall ICAO compliance progress, which makes Kazakhstan a successful story of cooperation with ICAO. Dr. Liu also highlighted the importance of aviation connectivity for Kazakhstan as the largest landlocked country in Central Asia.
Dr. Liu further stressed the critical importance of assuring adequate financial and human resources for the State’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), taking into account anticipated air traffic growth in the Region, emerging developments regarding remotely-piloted aircraft systems, and Kazakhstan’s ambitions to establish itself as Central Asia’s air transport hub.
Regarding environmental priorities, Dr. Liu praised the commitment Kazakhstan has shown in establishing a State Action Plan focal point, noting that the Plan’s development would contribute to improved cooperation and the definition of a strategic pathway for international aviation CO2 emissions mitigation which is tailored to its national circumstances and capabilities. She also strongly encouraged it to consider participating as early as possible in ICAO’s CORSIA offsetting solution for international flight emissions.
The Secretary General also advised Kazakhstan to take the lead regarding aviation development in Central Asia, supporting the ICAO No Country Left Behind initiative and taking advantage of its role as a donor State in the United Nations framework.
Kazakhstan confirmed its commitments to the State Action Plan’s development and the ICAO No Country Left Behind initiative, and to provide adequate resources to permit the reform and modernization of its CAA. It also agreed to further commitments regarding the near-term ratification of various international legal instruments, and expressed keen interest in a leadership role in the implementation of the “silk road” projects in this regard and in enhanced cooperation with ICAO for capacity building and effective implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices.
Secretary General Liu also took the opportunity of her mission to bestow upon Kazakhstan its ICAO Council President Certificate, in recognition of its exemplary safety oversight performance and improvements during 2016.