This week we launched the 2021 edition of the World Civil Aviation Report. Our flagship publication reviews the state of the aviation industry through the lens of global aviation experts and includes key air transport and safety and security statistics. This volume addresses issues like environmental sustainability, safety operational measures, Universal Safety Oversight Programe developments, innovation and training. The report provides analysis of how air transport stakeholders are tackling the current, pressing challenges in civil aviation. In the opening of this edition our Secretary General, Mr. Juan Carlos Salazar, addresses the impact of COVID-19 and the ways stakeholders will recover from these challenges. We are sharing his insight, here.
Even as COVID-19 constrains many fundamental aspects of our mobility and connectivity, air transport operations are keeping societies and economies functional and supplied in very critical ways and shielding us all from what might have been far graver and more systemic pandemic impacts. The aviation network remains significantly constricted, however, due to new disease variants and unpredictable resurgences, and therefore just as hindered in accelerating the fuller recovery of international travel and tourism markets.
These factors continue to confront many countries, businesses, and workers all over the world with serious financial threats, with airlines, airports, and many others in the air transport value chain being particularly hard hit.
While we continue to work together effectively through ICAO to address evolving aviation and public health response and recovery priorities, we’re also keenly aware that there’s tremendous pent-up travel demand globally now.
This should encourage us all that a fuller recovery could be realized more quickly than anticipated once the public health challenges are finally and fully dealt with. A key aspect of ICAO’s role will be to ensure that global compliance with international standards remains robust and effective, and in so doing safeguard aviation’s traditional value offerings as the safest and most rapid solution for affordable global travel and trade. We must also help lead the adoption of passenger health screening measures to assure that future air transport is much more resilient to future disease threats, and consistently remind Governments that their aviation industries and authorities are key to these outcomes and have never been more in need of their attention and support.
Much has been said of how this crisis presents opportunities for modernization and evolution, and with the latest reports of the UN-IPCC there is a clear onus on us to ensure that the transformations we undertake for sectoral renewal continuously advance us toward an emissions-free future for powered flight. ICAO is monitoring and adjusting to the incredible innovations which will carry us to this greener aviation future, whether in terms of new ground-breaking technologies, the expanded use of sustainable aviation fuels, or digitized, modernized, and streamlined procedures. We’ve also begun our own internal transformations to ensure we’re fully fit for purpose to respond dynamically to the amazing pace of current advances, and to be an efficient partner for States and innovators to enable the exciting and more sustainable future which lies ahead.
Our world still faces many other obstacles on the road to the sustainable future being pursued under the United Nations’ ambitious Agenda 2030, but I’m confident that international air connectivity will soon again be providing its critical support for national efforts toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals. I’m also confident that, by the time we reach the 2030 target date, the world of aviation we know today will have been fundamentally and more sustainably transformed as well.
I’m both honoured and humbled to be leading ICAO through this challenging moment of crisis and opportunity, and to be able to partner alongside the visionaries and leaders who are now shattering our traditional expectations of personal and commercial air, or even space mobility.
As this latest edition of ICAO’s World Civil Aviation Report attests, progress on many key priorities for international air transport continues to be realized, thanks in great part to the responsiveness, dedication, and partnership which have always been our greatest strengths as a global community.
There is a tremendous responsibility upon all of us to be agents of change so that the world truly does build back better after COVID-19, and ICAO intends to help lead those changes in international civil aviation.