The ICAO Middle East Region addresses global and regional COVID-19 developments

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The Middle East Regional Office continues its efforts through the challenging pandemic. The Fourth virtual meeting of Director General of Civil Aviation within the Middle East region (DGCA-MID) was held to discuss the global and regional developments related to COVID-19, the priorities of the ICAO MID office and the work programme for 2021.

ICAO’s Secretary General, Dr. Fang Liu, opened the meeting by welcoming States’ Officials and all participants. She addressed the emergence of new virus variants and noted that vaccine rollouts, new innovations to battle COVID-19, and the work of the CART that is now targeting specific issues related to Stats’ multilayer risk management strategies, will all contribute to the ultimate objective: to restore public confidence in air travel and get passengers to fly again. She further noted that CART Phase III supports the creation of public health travel corridors, safe and efficient global vaccine distribution, the facilitation of all-cargo air services, and standardized COVID-19 testing certificates for secure international use.

Mr. Mohamed Smaoui, the Acting Regional Director, ICAO MID Office, welcomed all participants to the Fourth DGCA-MID Virtual Meeting and thanked everyone for their attendance and continuous support.

Mr. Mohamed Rahma, Director of the Air Transport Bureau, provided an overview of the civil aviation post COVID-19 pandemic highlighting CART Phase III Outcomes and Recommendations. He noted the objectives of the High-Level COVID-19 Conference, which will be organized from 12 to 22 October 2021 on a virtual or hybrid basis, and that the Conference will consider a broad range of issues with a particular focus on safety and facilitation objectives, taking into account the economic impact of COVID-19 on the aviation sector. The Conference will also be an opportunity for promoting and strengthening collective efforts to harmonize measures, as well as a risk management strategy through the implementation of the recommendations by the ICAO CART.

Mr. Smaoui highlighted the latest developments related to COVID-19 at the regional level, including the follow-up on the conclusions of the previous DGCA-MID Virtual Meeting, regional implementation status of CART Phase I, II & III and the main activities done by the MID office throughout 2021.

The participation of the aviation stakeholders on the international and regional levels was very important, the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) and the Arab Civil Aviation Organization (ACAO) updated participants on the latest development and current situation of the CART task force regarding public health corridors, certificates of vaccination and health testing, air freight and recommendations to accelerate the process of air transport recovery from the repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis.

While the International Air Transport Association (IATA) briefed the meeting on the Air Connectivity in the MID Region and measuring the connections that drive economic growth.

The Fourth DGCA-MID Virtual Meeting was attended by a total of one hundred sixty (160) participants, from sixteen (16) MID Region States (Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, UAE, and Yemen), one outside the MID Region State (USA), and eleven (11) Organizations, (AACO, ACAO, ACI, AFCAC, CAPSCA, CASP-MID, IATA, FALPA, IFATCA, UNEC, and ICAO).


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