MONTRÉAL, 19 December 2013 – The sixth ICAO Air Services Negotiation Conference (ICAN2013) wound up on a record note in Durban, South Africa last week, with 73 States/territories using the unique ICAN one-stop negotiation facility to conclude over 500 new air services and open skies agreements.
More than 400 negotiators took advantage of some 500 meetings during the five-day ICAN marathon, which also saw participation from regional bodies such as the European Union (EU) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
“The tremendous level of growth now being projected for our sector through 2030 points to the likelihood that more and more air service agreements will need to be reached between a greater number of States in the coming years,” commented ICAO Secretary General, Raymond Benjamin, in a video welcome message to the 415 ICAN 2013 participants. “This highlights the essential value of ICAO’s ICAN events and why our Organization remains so focused upon improving the regulatory frameworks and economic tools which support the sustainable development of air transport.”
South Africa’s Dipuo Peters, Minister of Transport, noted in her remarks the great impact that ICAN events have on air transport connectivity, stressing that Africa more broadly and South Africa specifically were “…honoured to host this event that connects States, people, aviation, tourism and trade…”
To highlight their ongoing collaborative efforts and the critical links between air transport and tourism aimed at fostering greater global connectivity, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) was invited by ICAO to participate in a special ICAN seminar this year in Durban. ICAO additionally provided on-site legal services.
ICAO ICAN events permit the UN civil aviation agency’s 191 Member States to conduct multiple air services negotiations in a single location, greatly lowering the cost and enhancing the efficiency of the negotiation process. Since its inception in 2008, five successive ICANs have been held in different regions of the world to advance the liberalization of international air transport to the benefit of the industry and travelling public.
Herry Bakti, Director General of Civil Aviation for 2014 ICAN host State Indonesia (Bali, 17-21 November), accepted the handover of ICAN responsibilities from 2013 host South Africa, taking the opportunity to commend ICAO for establishing the ICAN instrument and extending a warm invitation to participants to join Indonesia and ICAO in Bali next year.
Background notes for editors:
More on ICAO’s Economic Development of Air Transport Strategic Objective: http://www.icao.int/sustainability/Pages/default.aspx