Setting the safety strategy for the next decade


Safety is aviation’s top priority. The Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP), ICAO’s strategy for the continuous improvement of aviation safety, aims to continually reduce aviation-related fatalities, and the risk of fatalities, by guiding the development of a harmonized safety strategy and the implementation of aviation safety plans at the regional and national levels.

ICAO has been working collaboratively with States and other key stakeholders to develop the 2020-2022 edition of the GASP, which will set forth ICAO’s Safety Strategy for the next decade. A draft of the 2020-2022 edition of the GASP was presented at the Thirteenth Air Navigation Conference, as part of the dynamic consultation process aimed at developing a meaningful and effective Safety Strategy.

Why is GASP needed?

To the travelling public, safety is a given on every flight. However, arriving safely at a destination requires continuous efforts from the aviation community. It is essential that States, regions (including regional entities such as the regional aviation safety groups (RASGs) and regional safety oversight organizations
(RSOOs)) and industry (including international organizations and service providers) work together toward the
goal of safe operations. In line with ICAO’s Safety Strategic Objective, the GASP outlines key safety enhancement initiatives at the global level. The GASP outlines roles and responsibilities for States, regions and industry in managing organizational challenges and operational safety risks. The global aviation safety roadmap, presented in the GASP, serves as an action plan to assist the aviation community in achieving the GASP goals through a structured, common frame of reference for all relevant stakeholders.

Why is the GASP updated regularly?

Aviation is an ever-changing and challenging industry. Therefore, the GASP is reviewed and updated every three
years prior to each session of the ICAO Assembly. The draft 2020-2022 edition of the GASP was developed through the efforts of the GASP Study Group (GASPSG), a joint regulatory industry expert group established by ICAO to ensure that the plan and its content reflect the needs of the aviation community at the international, regional and national levels.

What changes are proposed for the GASP?

The draft 2020-2022 edition of the GASP recognizes the needs of all aviation stakeholders. It promotes the implementation of safety management and a risk-based approach as tools to help manage increasingly complex aviation systems. It also encourages the use of harmonized safety enhancement initiatives to address gaps in effective implementation of the critical elements of a State’s safety oversight system.

The draft 2020-2022 edition of the GASP has been restructured in two parts:

  • Part one addresses safety planning, including the identification of organizational challenges and operational safety risks and the definition of roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders within the GASP.
  • Part two addresses the implementation of safety enhancement initiatives aimed at improving safety. The GASP also includes an Executive Summary which provides the key messages to a State’s senior management, in order to promote a better understanding and support of this strategic document.
GASP vision and goals

The vision of the draft 2020-2022 edition of the GASP is to achieve and maintain the aspirational safety goal of zero fatalities in commercial operations by 2030 and beyond, which is consistent with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The year 2030 has been selected as the timeframe for reaching this goal, as it is by this date that traffic volume is forecast to double.

A series of six goals in the draft 2020-2022 edition of the GASP support the overall aspirational safety goal and will supersede the objectives presented in the 2017-2019 edition of the GASP. Some derive from the 2017-2019 edition of the GASP, which called for States to implement effective safety oversight systems and State Safety
Programmes (SSPs). Other goals respond to feedback from States and international organizations received during the consultation process to update the GASP, asking for a greater emphasis on the management of operational safety risks.

What risks should the aviation community focus on?

To mitigate the risk of fatalities, States, regions and industry need to address hazards associated to events referred to as “high-risk categories (HRCs) of occurrences.” ICAO determined the types of occurrences considered to be global HRCs (previously known as “global safety priorities”) by looking at actual fatalities
from past accidents, high fatality risk per accident, and the number of accidents and incidents. 

These HRCs have been identified for the draft 2020-2022 edition of the GASP:

  • Controlled flight into terrain;
  • Loss of control in-flight;
  • Mid-air collision;
  • Runway excursion;
  • Runway incursion
What changes are proposed for global aviation safety roadmap?

The draft 2020-2022 edition of the GASP includes an updated global aviation safety roadmap. The roadmap presents globally recognized safety enhancement initiatives for States, regions and industry to address each of the GASP goals. A new operational safety risks portion of the roadmap is included in the GASP to assist States,
regions and industry in addressing the five HRCs. This new portion of the roadmap suggests a structure to identify hazards associated with the HRCs and develop additional safety enhancement initiatives to mitigate the associated safety risks.

What is expected of States?

In line with the draft 2020-2022 edition of the GASP, each State will be encouraged to develop a national aviation safety plan, in which the strategic direction for the management of aviation safety for a set time period will be presented. Each plan should be developed in line with the GASP goals, targets and HRCs. Several States, such as
Australia, France and India, have already published national aviation safety plans.

What is expected out of the Air Navigation Conference?

In December 2017, a draft of the 2020-2022 edition of the GASP was presented at the First Safety and Air Navigation Implementation Symposium (SANIS/1). The purpose of the presentation was to obtain feedback on then-proposed goals for the next edition of the Plan and obtain general feedback from participants. The draft GASP was met with agreement by the audience and ICAO continued to refine the document. The draft GASP was presented to the Thirteenth Air Navigation Conference to obtain wider feedback from States and international organizations. The outcome of the Conference is being taken into consideration when finalizing the 2020-2022 edition of the GASP.

To ensure consistency between the GASP, other ICAO Global Plans and the ICAO Strategic Objectives, the Council
will approve the final draft of the GASP. The final version of this edition will be presented to the 40th Session of the ICAO Assembly for endorsement.

The draft 2020-2022 edition of the GASP (Doc 10004) can be obtained from the ICAO Website, here.

About the Author

Martin Maurino is the Safety, Efficiency and Operations Officer at ICAO who heads the ICAO Cabin Safety Programme. Before joining ICAO, he held safety analysis and safety management roles at Transport Canada and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Martin began his career in aviation as a cabin crew member at Air Canada.