ENSURING GLOBAL EFFICIENCY FOR AIR SERVICES NEGOTIATIONS

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Aviation development refers to a wide range of infrastructure, human resources, training, and related capacity-building activities. The ultimate goal of these efforts is to realize a safe and efficient air transport foundation in a given State, one which is consistent with ICAO’s Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and Strategic Objectives for the global air transport network.

Once ICAO-compliant air transport connectivity is established, it begins to support expanded tourism and many other local and regional socio-economic development goals for States and Regions. Opportunities for local citizens, businesses and producers to access foreign supplies and markets begin to multiply significantly, and further important benefits for governments and societies are realized through improvements in medical transport, emergency response and cultural exchange.

Recognizing the importance of aviation development to ICAO’s global mandate and the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Organization has begun to more actively engage States and donor/development stakeholders and to map its work against SDG deliverables. We do so not only by serving an essential coordinating role, but also by providing States with the planning and monitoring tools they need to develop practical and effective business cases supporting dependable socio-economic returns on investment.

More than 400 air services agreements and arrangements were signed at the 9th ICAO Air Services Negotiation Conference (ICAN2016) that was held in Nassau, Bahamas  in December. The event attracted 366 representatives from 67 States and territories who took advantage of the cost-effective, multi-negotiation framework to expand air transport liberalization and market access.

Continued liberalization of market access creates a better operating environment for the air transport industry, which generates $2.7 trillion for the global economy annually, and provides 63.5 million jobs globally. ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu told participants that ICAO events “have become an important networking platform, while providing valuable opportunities for airlines, airports, tourism providers and others to conduct workshops and other business-to-business meetings which bring added benefit on the sidelines of your negotiations.”

 

ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu speaking at the ICAN event in Nassau, Bahamas in December 2016.

 

“Safe, secure and ICAO-compliant air services have become a veritable lifeline of the global economy, facilitating access to global markets and trade flows for local producers and retailers, improving local living standards, expanding trade and tourism channels, fostering economic growth, and alleviating poverty,” he also noted.

Negotiators took part in some 430 meetings during the five-day ICAN marathon in Nassau, appropriately staged at the National Stadium, site of the country’s first international  airport, the former Oakes Field. Since the event’s inception in 2008, successive ICAN events have been held in every world region and have made important contributions to the liberalization of international air transport and the enhancement of air connectivity for the benefit of States, the industry, and the travelling public.

“Once ICAO-compliant air transport connectivity is established, it begins to support expanded tourism and many other local and regional socio-economic development goals for States and Regions,” remarked ICAO Air Transport Bureau Director Boubacar Djibo. “Opportunities for local citizens, businesses and producers to access foreign supplies and markets begin to multiply significantly, and further important benefits for governments and societies are realized through improvements in medical transport, emergency response and cultural exchange.”

MULTIPLE BILATERAL AGREEMENTS

Some examples of the activities at ICAN2016:

The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) targeted 68 countries during the conference for face-to-face meetings with all the participating countries, according to Captain Abdulhakeem Albadur, Assistant to the President for Security, Safety and Air Transport. For example, India agreed with Saudi Arabia to increase capacity by 8,000 seats per week when Indian carriers’ utilization reaches 80 per cent. “These agreements will help keep pace with the acceleration in the growth of the air transport industry and provide operational opportunities and destination points for our national carriers,” Capt. Albadur said.

Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said India signed Open Skies agreements with six countries – Czech Republic, Finland, Guyana, Jamaica, Spain and Sri Lanka. Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were signed with 12 countries. Mr. Chaubey said, “In the present scenario code shares provide seamless connectivity to the travelling passengers and make possible connectivity between far off destinations not served by direct flights.

“The ultimate goal of these efforts is to realize a safe and efficient air transport foundation in a given State, one which is consistent with ICAO’s Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and Strategic Objectives for the global air transport network,” said Djibo. “ICAO ICAN events have also become an important platform for air transport regulatory reform, and a useful vehicle for promoting understanding and cooperation amongst government policy makers, regulators and industry players, as well as other aviation stakeholders.”.

The tenth ICAO Air Services Negotiation Event (ICAN2017), which will be hosted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka, will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 4 to 8 December 2017.   ​​​

 

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