ICAO global air navigation and safety plans: crucial to the development of the aviation network


The implementation of the recently revised ICAO Global Air Navigation and Safety Plans will underpin the continued safe and sustainable development of the international air transport network, ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu recently declared at the Safeskies Conference in Canberra.

Safeskies, an Australian consortium of public and private sector leaders dedicated to the advancement of aviation safety, invited the ICAO Secretary General to deliver its biannual Sir Reginald Ansett Memorial Lecture.

The Secretary General of ICAO, Dr. Fang Liu, presents an ICAO 75th Anniversary souvenir to the Australian Deputy PM and Minister of Transport and Regional Development, the Hon Michael McCormack MP, following discussions with the Australian government on cooperation with ICAO to support regional and global aviation initiatives.

The Secretary General’s mission to Canberra also provided her with an opportunity to undertake a high-level bilateral meeting with the Honourable Michael McCormack, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, and a round-table meeting with other public aviation sector leaders from Australia, chaired by Ms. Pip Spence, Acting Secretary, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development.  The Secretary General also met with industry leaders in Sydney, including Mr. Alan Joyce, the CEO of Qantas Group.

Just days prior to the Secretary General’s remarks, the Assembly of ICAO’s Member States had endorsed important new revisions to ICAO’s Global Plans for Aviation Safety and Air Navigation Capacity and Efficiency, the GASP and the GANP. These revisions will be instrumental in managing the adoption and integration of the next generation of aircraft and operations.

“The GASP sets forth ICAO’s safety strategy to continuously improve aviation safety,” remarked Dr. Liu. “Its vision is to achieve and maintain the aspirational safety goal of zero fatalities in commercial operations by 2030 and beyond.”

Dr. Fang Liu undertook a mission to Canberra to deliver the Sir Reginald Ansett Memorial Lecture at the Safeskies Conference on 15 October 2019.

Achieving this will require addressing ‘high-risk categories’ of occurrences, which have been recognized in the GASP as controlled flight into terrain, loss of control in-flight, mid-air collision, runway excursions, and runway incursions. The GASP includes a global aviation safety roadmap focused on these.

The GASP also promotes the implementation of safety management and a risk-based approach to help manage increasingly complex aviation systems, including through a series of six goals. Some of these address organizational challenges, also referred to as “systemic issues”, which may contribute to accidents or incidents. These goals primarily call for States to implement or improve effective safety oversight systems.

Other goals address the management of operational safety risks through effective implementation of State Safety Programmes and the need for appropriate infrastructure available to support safe operations. This infrastructure is further delineated in the GANP.

“The GANP will be an especially important resource here in the Asia and Pacific, where we find varying levels of air navigation system development coupled with continued and rapid air traffic growth,” Dr. Liu declared. “A variety of solutions are at your disposal to help address your future needs, including the Air Traffic Flow Management solutions some States are now implementing. And from an overall standpoint, we must remember that the attainment of safe, secure and environmentally friendly air transport across the Region will require effective ICAO compliance and strong commitments and collaboration among States, industry, and other key partners.”

The Asia and Pacific region is achieving the highest rate of air traffic growth globally, accounts for over half of the 1.4 billion international tourists who travel by air, and is characterized by many small island and developing States for whom air connectivity is especially essential. This fact was further reflected in the spirit of the bilateral meetings conducted by the Secretary General during her mission. These focused on identifying means by which States in the South Pacific could optimize resources and progress through cooperation toward the implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and the realization of the objectives set forth by States through ICAO’s global and regional strategic planning.

The Government of Australia highlighted the potential relevance of the Australian Prime Minister’s ‘step up’ programme in this regard, and a variety of possible means by which ICAO and Australia could cooperate to enhance the air connectivity of Pacific Small Islands Developing States were identified. In addition to the crucial safety and security aspects, Australia highlighted ICAO’s environmental protection work, and CORSIA in particular, as being key to the sustainability of aviation development in the region.

The interdependence of progress on aviation safety, security and environmental sustainability in terms of the development of international air connectivity, and the ability of aviation to contribute towards the achievement of the 17 goals set forth under the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) were stressed by Dr. Liu throughout her mission.

“Building on our core normative responsibilities, ICAO is now fully engaged with our colleagues throughout the UN system in working towards the historic Agenda 2030,” Dr. Liu remarked in her lecture. “Since the 2015 General Assembly at which States adopted its SDGs, ICAO has been working very hard to improve global awareness on how the availability of safe, secure, efficient, economically viable, and environmentally sustainable air transport operations is fundamental to States’ wider SDG objectives.”

The Secretary General’s lecture also encompassed the variety of efforts ICAO is leading towards its other strategic objectives⁠—security, economic development, and environmental protection⁠—and highlighted the importance of ICAO’s No Country Left Behind initiative in terms of ensuring that all 193 Member States have an opportunity to access the sustainable development benefits of aviation.