Regional Office Achievements
The ICAO Regional Offices reported that the number of Significant Safety Concerns (SSCs) has been reduced to two globally. There is one outstanding SSC in Eritrea (Eastern and Southern African (ESAF) Region), whose resolution is beginning to show significant progress; the other SSC in the Asia/Pacific (APAC) region that has made good progress in resolving the reason for referral to the Monitoring and Assistance Review Board (MARB). The SSC that was identified for the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACC) Region has been resolved/mitigated.
All ICAO Regional offices have reported that the effective implementation (EI) levels have in most instances gone up as a result of capacity-building, States’ commitment and technical assistance activities within the No Country Left Behind (NCLB) framework. For example, the APAC Combined Action Team (CAT) technical assistance missions have been very beneficial in establishing an organic link with the beneficiary States and improved the engagement of ICAO with the Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS).
The main areas that the Regional offices focused on are related to airports (runway safety and airport certification), and the Safety Management Systems/State Safety Programme (SMS/SSP) framework. Development and implementation of SSP continued to be a challenge, despite the assistance missions and safety management workshops and trainings organized by the Regional Offices. The main causal factor was commonly identified as the lack of an SMS/SSP framework assessment. The MID Region safety Strategy (Edition 6, 2019) was endorsed by the Seventh Meeting of the Regional Aviation safety Group – Middle East (RASG-MID/7), which included selected goals from the Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP) 2020-2022 Edition, as well as specific regional safety objectives. The Aircraft Accident and Incident investigation Regional Cooperation Mechanism (ARCM) was also endorsed by the Fifth Meeting of the Directors General of Civil Aviation-Middle East Region (DGCA-MID/5). A NACC SSP Implementation strategy was implemented to ensure GASP compliance and gradual implementation with the support of Champion States. In the North America, Central America Caribbean (NAM/CAR) regions, additional agreements for the promotion of regional collaboration to improve Accident and Incident Investigation (AIG) and developing Regional Accident and Incident Investigation Organizations (RAIO) through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) were formalized. The South American (SAM) region began the implementation of a SAM Regional Safety Plan (SAMSP) that allows a systematic approach towards fulfilling GASP´s goals. In 2019, six SAM States presented to the SAM Office their States Safety Plans to start the implementation of the SAM Region objectives and targets.
Air Navigation Capacity and Efficiency Achievements
The overall level of Aviation System Block Upgrade (ASBU) implementation increased in most of the Regions and the follow-up on the air navigation deficiencies improved. All Regions reported increased efforts to support the implementation of air navigation planning, with the Asia/Pacific (APAC) region having a major triennial update of the Asia/Pacific Seamless ANS plan, incorporating updated regional elements and alignment with the Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP). The NACC Regional Office had outstanding support from their States for developing their State Air Navigation Plans (78 per cent of the States).
The Regions reported improvements on the route networks and airspace management optimization. The MID Region is in the process of development of an Air Traffic Flow and Capacity Management (ATFCM) Concept of Operation for the implementation of regional ATFM solution. The North Atlantic (NAT) is executing trials with space-based automatic dependent surveillance (ADS)-Band expansion to reduce separation minima based on Performance-based Communication and Surveillance/Performance-based Navigation (PBCS/PBN) leading to significant capacity and efficiency gains and lower CO2 emissions. SAM and NACC managed to implement 14 interregional SAM/CAR air traffic services (ATS) routes optimized and applying RNAV5 operations. SAM Region achieved 100% implementation of RNAV5/RNP10 in upper airspace in 5 States. In the NACC States, critical agreements on air traffic management (ATM) implementation were reached, including CAR/SAM ATFM Concept of Operations (ConOps), CAR performance-based (PBN) Airspace Concept, CAR search and rescue (SAR) Review Strategy and CAR Regional Contingency Plan.
Several Regions shared their achievements on Crisis management, mainly in relation to airspace inter-Regional contingency arrangements. Both the EUR/NAT office and the APAC office are planning volcanic ash crisis management and response exercises. The MID Office is coordinating the improvements of the current contingency arrangements as well as preparing for potential inter-regional contingency measures, taking into considering the limited available options for the rerouting of traffic flows across the MID Region. Similarly, Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA) meetings have contributed to improve preparedness to public health crisis.
Overall implementation of PBN runway procedures improved by 6 per cent across the Regions over the year. Funds for running the MID flight procedure programme (FPP) were secured for one year and six States accredited to the MID Regional Office signed the Project Document. In the Africa-Indian Ocean (AFI) Region, Phase II of the FPP was initiated and personnel engaged. Notably, the transition from aeronautical information service (AIS) to Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) was facilitated through workshops and the planning of Go-Teams in the AFI Region. The APAC Regional Office developed the Regional system-wide information management (SWIM) implementation Philosophy and APAC SWIM roadmap and educational video.
The regional offices reported on their efforts on Communication requirements specific to their Region. The SAM Office indicated that their implementation targets of Air Traffic Services interfacility data communication (AIDC) and aeronautical message handling system (AMHS) were surpassed. In the NACC Region, numerous activities took place, such as the implementation of AIDC protocol, and a NAM/CAR Instrument Procedure (IP) private aviation communications network. The aforementioned activities will facilitate the reduction of flight plan errors in the Region. The Western and Central African (WACAF) Regional Office held a coordination meeting of the Satellite Network Management Committee (SNMC), resulting in arrangements to modernize the very small aperture terminal (VSAT) Network and to reinforce remote very high frequency (VHF) radio coverage. In the MID Region, the reliability of aeronautical fixed service (AFS) services was improved through SITA Type X integration. The SAM Region successfully established an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the implementation of a terrestrial communication connection with the Regional digital network.
APAC, Eastern and Southern African (ESAF), MID and WACAF Offices have been joining efforts to support States with SAR implementation through organizing Inter-regional SAR Workshops on rotation basis between the regions to ensure trans-regional harmonization including the development and implementation of Regional SAR Implementation Plans.
Security and Facilitation Achievements
Several Regions continued to successfully monitor the Regional Aviation Security Training Centre (ASTC) network with courses delivered in the areas of: AVSEC inspectors and supervisors training; Risk Management; Airport Security Supervisors and Cargo Mail Security. Regional activities further intensified on technical assistance for capacity-building. Several other activities were held, such as the conduct of an ICAO Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) Seminar, specific efforts to support the implementation of Annex 17 and Annex 9. The ESAF Region facilitated the initial Regional Facilitation workshop on border control and TRIP implementation, and in the MID region, the Cooperative Aviation Security Programme in the Middle East (CASP-MID) has started its second phase (2018-2022) and is being hosted by Saudi Arabia in Riyadh since 2019. The ICAO MID Office has engaged with the 15 MID States to promote the Go-Travel Programme to assist Member States in enhancing their detection capacity against foreign terrorist fighters and other serious criminals. Under the auspices of the Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Security and Facilitation in Africa (AFI SECFAL) plan, the AFI Region received technical assistance including State experts participation. Overarching meetings bringing together all (language) areas of a region to communicate and coordinate activities and targeted workshops to support Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) implementation and/or coordinate capacity-building were conducted e.g. in EUR/NAT.
Regional Office missions were undertaken in relation to the Universal Security Audit Programme-Continuous Monitoring Approach (USAP-CMA) audits and included Combined Action Team – AVSEC technical assistance missions in most Regions.
Economic Development of Air Transport Achievements
A Joint ICAO EUR/NAT and MID Aviation Data and analyses seminar was conducted in Istanbul, Turkey. Similar Seminars were also conducted in other Regions, including one in the APAC Region. On the topic of Airport and Air Navigation charges, DGCA MID/5 resulted in an endorsement of two conclusions and ESAF and WACAF coordinated several workshops. ESAF and WACAF Regional Offices also performed an infrastructure gap analysis as a component of the implementation of the third ICAO World Aviation Forum (IWAF/3) Ministerial roadmap on infrastructure and the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). In the NAM/CAR Regions, a Joint Declaration between CARICOM and UN was achieved, where aviation was identified as a key element for progress.
The good support, with limited resources, for this strategic objective from previous years continued in all ICAO Regions and work progressed on State action plans on CO2 emissions reductions and on Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) implementation, with regional offices providing support to the CORSIA Assistance, Capacity-building and Training programme (ACT-CORSIA) in the form of workshops and training sessions, and support to the work of ICAO, in, among other items, following up on State letter requests. The efforts have assisted in a strong increase in the submission of State Action Plans.
In 2019, ICAO conducted a study on the needs of the Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) , which sheds light on the knowledge and communications gap between ICAO and PSIDS. Based on a comprehensive review of each State’s situation and a thorough exchange of views with States and stakeholders in the region, the study establishes a unique assessment of the current and upcoming challenges faced by the SIDS and sets forth a series of recommendations aimed at the States themselves, international organizations and multilateral development banks with activities in the Pacific region, and ICAO. Although the geographical scope of the study is limited to the Pacific, a number of lessons learned during its conduct can also benefit other SIDS, which makes the study of global interest. In addition, the impacts of the implementation of the recommendations are expected to generate benefits on all Strategic Objective. In this context, in the NAM/CAR Regions, the completion and promotion of a Case Study was achieved, highlighting the progress reached by a SID and the positive impact of making aviation a national priority. This case study was conducted in conjunction with ICAO, Inter-American Development bank (IADB) and the State.
Synergies among Regional Offices continue to grow on implementation support, sharing of expertise and resources, which lead to more efficient and cost-effective utilization of resources across the Offices, partially addressing the resource constraints.
Consolidation of Regional Meetings
A continuous challenge faced by all ICAO Regions is the reduced participation in regional meetings by Member States. Regional Office have taken a series of decisions aimed at improving the cost-efficiency for Member States to participate in ICAO regional meetings and at decreasing the costs linked to the organization of these meetings. A practice now commonly adopted by all Regional Offices is the consolidation of regional meetings, such as the new European Aviation System Planning Group (EASPG), which merges the European Air Navigation Planning Group (EANPG) and the Regional Aviation Safety Group – Europe (RASG-EUR), which held its first meeting in December 2019. The ESAF, NACC, SAM and WACAF Regional Offices have also optimized the organization of the Planning and Implementation Regional Groups (PIRGs) and RASGs meetings. The APIRG/22 and RASG-AFI/5 were held in parallel with two joint sessions in July/August 2019, as a first step towards an integrated approach.
In addition, all Regional Offices have made significant progress in holding major meetings back-to-back. Regional Offices have also developed innovative solutions, so that ICAO Member States maximize the benefits of their participation in the regional meetings. For instance, the WACAF office has designated “Champions” amongst their participants, whose role is to mobilize States and increase their sharing of experience during meetings such as the Coordination Workshop for National Continuous Monitoring Coordinators (NCMCs). Improved coordination in the planning of meetings with regional organizations has been used as a means to harness synergies through shared meeting programmes and joint activities, such as per the experience of the ESAF region, coordinating with the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), the Regional Safety Oversight Organizations (RSOOs) and other regional organizations and also per experience of the MID Region related to the conduct of Regional Coordination Meetings on annual basis with International and Regional Organizations; and the development and implementation of a Triennium Regional Cooperation Programme of joint events with the Arab Civil Aviation Organization (ACAO), Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), in particular (11 joint events organized in 2019). Enhanced effectiveness has also been at the core approach adopted by the SAM office, which has allowed identifying and establishing projects such as the visual RNAV approaches, with resources from Regional Aviation Safety Group – Pan America (RASG-PA) and the CAR/SAM Planning and Implementation Regional Group (GREPECAS). The APAC Regional Office assessed the relevance of its current task forces and decided to discontinue the Asia/Pacific Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force (APUAS/TF) in addition to organizing a combined PIRG and RASG meeting in 2020.