Aviation innovation posing opportunities and challenges for operators and regulators: ICAO Council President

Providing opening remarks today at the 2019 China Civil Aviation Development Forum, hosted in Beijing, ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu highlighted that new regulatory policies and practices are needed in aviation so that the sector can proactively engage with innovators and encourage, rather than impede their inventiveness.


Montréal and Beijing, 16 May 2019 – Providing opening remarks today at the 2019 China Civil Aviation Development Forum, ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu highlighted that new regulatory policies and practices are needed in aviation so that the sector can proactively engage with innovators and encourage, rather than impede their inventiveness. 


“The theme of this year’s China Civil Aviation Development Forum – Intelligent Aviation: High quality development in a new scientific, technological, and industrial revolution – is very apt and quite timely, especially as aviation today has become such an essential component of our global society,” Dr. Aliu remarked. 


“Technological innovations, if addressed on a complementary basis, can greatly accelerate the rate at which all countries and peoples can benefit even more from the significant and sustainable socio-economic impacts of air transport, he commented, noting as well that “related regulatory reforms must be accomplished in a manner which ensures that aviation retains the confidence of the travelling public as the safest and an efficient and reliable mode of transport.” 


ICAO’s Council President also highlighted how the digitization of aviation now extends to virtually every area of airline and airport operation today, and that these trends pose serious concerns not only in terms of process evolution, but also cybersecurity threats. 


He outlined ICAO’s efforts to establish a robust trust framework among the senders and receivers of digital information, and strongly underscored the need for air transport personnel to be trained “with the enhanced competencies that will be required to operate and manage all of the new 21st century aviation systems and capabilities, professionally and efficiently.” 


Noting that the Asia/Pacific is expected to remain ICAO’s fastest growing air transport region in terms of passenger and freight traffic through at least 2035, which will not only bring greater number of flights but also higher levels of emissions, he drew attention to how “innovative technologies are also critical to our efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of our industry to the benefit of future generations.” 


“This underscores the importance of China’s recent efforts to promote the greening of aviation, and I congratulate your country for demonstrating this leadership. I also look forward to your continuing support to ICAO’s activities on environmental protection,” he gratefully acknowledged. 


Dr. Aliu concluded by noting that the upcoming ICAO World Aviation Forum and its adjacent Innovation Fair and Exhibition, taking place on the eve of the UN aviation agency’s upcoming 40th Triennial Assembly this September, would be “focused on issues of operational and regulatory innovations in recognition of the potentials and challenges posed by this era of incredible aviation innovations,” as part of ICAO’s 75th Anniversary celebrations in 2019. 


During his stay in Beijing, Dr. Aliu met with a number of high-level officials, the CAAC Administrator, Mr. Feng Zhenglin as well as the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Mr. Le Yucheng to address these and other points of relevance to China’s civil aviation sector. He will also be making visits to a number of technical facilities, including Beijing’s new Daxing International Airport. He is being accompanied throughout by the Representative of China on the Council of ICAO, Mr. Yang Shengjun, and the Chief of the ICAO Asia Pacific Regional Sub-Office in Beijing, Mr. Raphael Guillet. 


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About ICAO 

A specialized agency of the United Nations, ICAO was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, amongst many other priorities. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 193 Member States. 


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