I have the honour to refer to State letter SC 5/1-03/71 dated 25 July 2003 which transmits to you the outcome of the fifth Worldwide Air Transport Conference (ATConf/5, Montreal, 24-28 March 2003) and the implementation action required of States. This letter seeks your support and cooperation to implement one of the ATConf/5 recommendations which requires input from States on their policies on air carrier ownership and control.
Specifically, the Conference recommended that "States notify ICAO of their policies, positions and practices including retention of the traditional criteria, and individual or joint statements of common policy, on the conditions under which they accept the designation of an air carrier pursuant to an air services agreement"; and that "ICAO maintain and make public information on States' policies, positions or practices on air carrier ownership and control" (Recommendation 1, paragraphs e) and f)).
Pursuant to this Recommendation, the Secretariat has prepared the attached questionnaire (pdf). Unlike the survey conducted in 2001 on the same subject (State letter SC 5/2-01/50 dated 16 May 2001) which sought information to help the Secretariat identify relevant issues and policy options in preparation for ATConf/5, the present exercise is to gather specific and up-to-date information on States' current policies and practices with regard to: a) how it deals with its own designation of air carriers; b) how it deals with foreign designation; and c) what is its position on future designations.
The information provided by States will be used to build a database, which will be made public when sufficient inputs have been received, including dissemination and updates on the ICAO Web site.
By way of background to this issue, you may wish to note that ICAO has over the years developed guidance on air carrier ownership and control for optional use by States in their air transport relationships, including several alternative regulatory arrangements (such as the model clause on airline designation and authorization adopted by ATConf/5), and some possible ways for facilitating the liberalization process. These can be found in Doc 9587-Second Edition, Policy and Guidance Material on the Economic Regulation of International Air Transport and in Attachment A to State letter SC 5/1-03/71 dated 25 July 2003, Consolidated Conclusions, Model Clauses, Recommendations and Declaration.
This project is designed to encourage and facilitate regulatory adjustments by States for international air transport, including positive action in liberalizing air carrier ownership and control rules. It will also enhance transparency by providing an inventory of States' policies, positions and practices on this important regulatory issue, which will help provide more certainty for both governments and the industry in the planning and operation of international air services. It is therefore important and will be beneficial for Contracting States to respond positively to this exercise whether they had responded to the previous survey or not. I would therefore appreciate it if you could complete and return to me the attached questionnaire as early as possible, and not later than 31 December 2003.
Accept, Sir/Madam, the assurances of my highest consideration.