The European and North Atlantic Office (EUR/NAT) held a workshop on Sustainable Funding of States Civil Aviation Authorities on 29 September 2020. The discussions focused on the challenges that CAAs face for their safety, security and economic oversight functions during these times of the COVID-19 crisis; on the best practices and lessons learned so far and on how a cooperative and collaborative approach with industry, regional and international organizations, including RSOOs during the crisis, can provide effective solutions along the way.
The opening addresses, delivered by Mrs. Silvia Gehrer, Regional Director ICAO EUR/NAT, and Mr. Luis Ribeiro, DG CAA Portugal, Chairman from the ICAO EUR/NAT DGCA meeting, and Chair of the Sustainable Funding Workshop, set the scene on the relevance and urgency to address the issue of CAA funding. "The current crisis has prompted many governments to introduce unprecedented measures to contain the pandemic. These priority measures that are imposed by a public health emergency, have left little room for other sectors, including appropriate funding for the CAAs. Our Region is no exception and we need to create awareness about this challenge urgently", highlighted Mrs. Gehrer. "Our Regional Office is standing by the States and is committed to providing further assistance moving forward".
"Our concerns are not new," said Mr. Ribeiro, "we discussed this in March 2019 during the Directors General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Meeting and we are finally delivering a workshop, possibly one of the many other assistance activities Silvia and her team are planning to deliver in the coming months. The cases and experiences shared by some of our Civil Aviation Authorities provide us with invaluable insights and inspiration today".
A total of one hundred thirty-six (136) participants from thirty-seven (37) States, five (5) European organisations (EC, EASA, EUROCONTROL, IAC and ECAC), the FAA and seven (7) industry organisations (IATA, CANSO, ACI Europe, IFATCA, IFAIMA, European Express Association and AviaSafety) attended this virtual workshop.
In follow-up, the ICAO EUR/NAT DGCA meeting, planned to take place on 20 October, will continue to create awareness on this important topic, facilitate sharing of best practices amongst States and seek support on the conclusions drawn during the discussions at the closing session.
"The discussions pointed towards the need for CAAs to assess new business and financial models that look into the diversification of funding to avoid shocks and assess viability in the long term. The ICAO EUR/NAT Office can provide support with that by developing a tool: a survey to better understand funding structures of States and resources available in these Regions. Thirdly, the meeting recognized that awareness campaigns need to continue and we will do so via the RD Brief, workshops, webinars and other communication outreach activities", expressed Mrs. Gehrer in her closing remarks.
The workshop is part of the activities recommended by the ICAO EUR/NAT DGCA to support the 56 States to which the EUR/NAT Office is accredited in this time of crisis and to enable them to be best equipped to restart international air transport and recover from the crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic.