Page Image Image Caption Page Content ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar is lauding Albania’s model re-opening of its aviation system, noting in particular that Albanian aviation has surpassed pre-pandemic passenger traffic levels in tandem with enhanced implementation of ICAO safety standards and guidance. This follows a series of meetings with European aviation leaders that took place last week at the occasion of the 70th Special Meeting of Directors General of Civil Aviation of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), which was hosted by Albania and opened by the Secretary General.In addition to his bilateral meeting with the Minister of Infrastructure and Energy of Albania, Ms. Belinda Balluku (as illustrated), the Secretary General met with the Executive Director of Albanian Civil Aviation, Ms. Edlira Kraja; Turkey’s Acting Director General for Civil Aviation, Dr. Kemal Yuksek; the Director General of Civil Aviation of Spain, Mr. Raul Medina; United Kingdom’s Director General of Civil Aviation, Dr. Rannia Leontaridi, and Mr. Damien Cazé, France’s Director General of Civil Aviation. Each provided crucial insights into their efforts to provide air transport connectivity and possible areas for cooperation with ICAO. Further Albanian and pan-European priorities were also identified in further meetings with other Albanian and European aviation leaders, including ECAC President Mr. Alessio Quaranta; Eurocontrol Director General Mr. Eammon Brennan; Mr. Filip Cornelis, Director for Aviation in the European Union; and the European Aviation Safety Agency’s Executive Director, Mr. Patrick Ky. A visit to the construction site of the new Vlora International Airport and the successful opening of the new Kukës International Airport Zayed were also highlighted. “The case of Albania and other states in the region demonstrate the benefit of governments investing and supporting the civil aviation sector in these trying times, and reaping immediate benefits by delivering air transport connectivity that is essential for recovery efforts in post-pandemic times,” said Mr. Salazar. The meetings were also an opportunity for the Secretary General to underscore the importance of the ICAO High-Level Conference on COVID-19 in terms of aligning States around model approaches, such as Albania’s, thereby accelerating the return of international air connectivity. The ten-day virtual ministerial conference will open on 12 October 2021.