Each year, the 7th December is designated as International Civil Aviation Day. Though the day itself has only been celebrated as such since 1994 (the 50th anniversary of the signing the Chicago convention), ICAO celebrates its 75th anniversary this year – hence the chosen motto.
Why an “International Civil Aviation Day”? It was set for the purpose of recognizing and drawing awareness to the role of international aviation on the world’s social and economic development. ICAO joins 192 of the 193 UN states together in cooperation to establish safe, secure, and efficient air travel (Liechtenstein for want of its own international airport, is not a member; Switzerland acts on its behalf.) With Fridays for Future and flygskam (flight-shame), ICAO’s focus on global sustainable development is all the more important.
75 years as a foundation for the future
Therefore, while the 75th anniversary of ICAO has been a chance for member states to look back at key moments in the history of aviation, and draw their population’s attention to ICAO’s achievements to date, the focus is also very strongly on the future and how innovation can play a role in overcoming the challenges the air travel industry faces today: overcrowded skies, increasing traffic, striving to limit and decrease emissions, new safety issues (e.g. lithium batteries and the like).
At its Fifth World Aviation Forum earlier this year, ICAO awarded youth innovation competition prizes, drawing in the next generations to solve the problems they will otherwise be facing on a larger scale. And, since Agenda 2030 has now been adopted by the UN and world nations, ICAO sees the Chicago Convention’s objectives as an even greater lever to global connectivity, peace, and prosperity.
“It will be by leveraging its historic levels of consensus and cooperation, which have been the hallmark of the accomplishments realized through ICAO over the past 75 years, that the aviation community will realize an even brighter and more sustainable new future for air transport in the exciting years to come,” ICAO’s Council President, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, and the Organization’s Secretary General, Dr. Fang Liu, underlined in their joint statement to commemorate 07DEC19.
ICAO and the cargo focus
In May this year, CFG was glad to report that through TIACA’s greater involvement with ICAO (an MoU was signed back in 2013), the topic of air cargo was, for the first time, a dedicated theme at the ICAO Transport Symposium. When it comes to global economic development, then air cargo plays a major role, yet has often been treated as a by-product. Though ICAO declares its focus to modernize the global air cargo regulatory framework through new strategic partnerships with key international state and industry agencies, and has chosen the following common objectives:
- Air cargo and mail security and facilitation
- Maintaining or improving all aspects of air cargo safety
- Evolving from paper-based to electronic solutions
- Minimizing air cargo's environmental footprint
- Liberalizing market access for air cargo services, in May 2019, Vladimir Zubkov pointed out that “the level of awareness within the air transport industry of the importance of air cargo and constraints which impose limitations on its development and financial success is still relatively low.”
What can be done between now and the next International Civil Aviation Day on 07DEC20, to get cargo more in the forefront?
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