Introducing 2019 from today’s perspective

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Article 54 of the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation mandates that the ICAO Council shall “Submit annual reports to the Assembly.” Since then, the Annual Report of the Council to the Assembly has provided a regular summary of the implementation of the decisions taken by ICAO’s highest body, which the Assembly reviews once reconvened. The implementation of these decisions is undertaken in accordance with the mandate given to ICAO by the Convention and in support of ICAO’s Strategic Objectives.

In light of the exceptional circumstances confronted by the aviation community in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019 edition includes this special message from the President of the ICAO Council, Mr. Salvatore Sciacchitano:


At the date of issuance of the present report, in the middle of the unprecedented crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, ICAO forecasts that airlines are potentially facing 1.5 billion fewer international passengers than previously expected for 2020. In parallel, international seat capacity could drop by almost three-quarters, resulting in a USD 273 billion dollar loss compared to previously expected gross operating revenues.

ICAO has acted swiftly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in cooperation with States, the World Health Organization and other UN bodies, and all aviation stakeholders. Guidance has been provided to help resolve the immediate threats to critical air services and also to help States plan and fund for the recovery. Of particular note is the creation of the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force to identify and recommend strategic priorities and policies for States and industry operators that will support not only the relaunch of the global aviation network, but also its resilience and responsiveness.

It is not just the international aviation community’s recent achievements that have provided us with the solid foundations from which we are building and drawing strength as we now confront the greatest challenges we have ever known, but also its historic accomplishments.

We are reminded of the power of our long-standing commitment to cooperation and consensus; values that have always underpinned the resilience of civil aviation, and values that will provide us, I am sure, with not only the inspiration to overcome the impacts of COVID-19, but also lead us to the pragmatic and universal solutions that will be key to recovering fully.

The 75th anniversary of the Chicago Convention was marked by many global celebrations of the past and the future of the global civil aviation network, which were also reflected in the accomplishment of many milestones in the safe, secure, and sustainable development of international aviation. In many respects, these developments culminated at the historic 40th ICAO Assembly, with agreements on the global strategic planning for the network’s capacity, safety and security; consensus on addressing innovation in aviation; and of course, new resolve on efforts to decrease the impact of flight on the natural environment, including through the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA.)

 All of these are illustrated in this 2019 Annual Report of the Council to the Assembly, which I hope will prove to be not only a document of record, but also of renewed inspiration.

Salvatore Sciacchitano
President of the ICAO Council