The year 2000 bridges two extraordinary periods in the history of mankind: the second millennium with its astounding discoveries and the third millennium with its unbounded possibilities.
The evolution of air travel captures well this visceral drive to continually expand our horizons. It also points the way to achieving our greatest dreams.
Leonardo da Vinci's sketches of birds in flight, the hot air balloon of the Montgolfier brothers, the daring exploits of Otto Lilienthal in his glider and the first powered flight of the Wright brothers illustrate the formidable imaginative capacity of the individual. The jet aircraft and modern, satellite-based air navigation systems testify to the creative power of collective effort.
At the crossroads of two centuries, we are beginning to understand the forces that are shaping our future. Fundamentally, everything is becoming interconnected. Issues are global, whether economic, social, humanitarian or environmental.
The Convention on International Civil Aviation of 1944 remains a sound flight plan for the future of air transport. The words of its inspiring preamble can guide us in other human endeavours:
"...to promote that cooperation between nations and peoples upon which the peace of the world depends...to create and preserve friendship and understanding..."
This is a call to humanize the globalization process we have embarked upon, to allow for worldly pursuits while caring for humans and the planet that supports us.
My sincere wish is that we all heed these words of wisdom, written more than half a century ago, as we enthusiastically embrace the challenges that lay before us on our journey into the 21st century.