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Importance of ICAO's role at Singapore's Forum

Stressed by its Council President Aliu

Joining air transport and government leaders for one of aviation’s pre-eminent leadership gatherings earlier this week, ICAO Council President Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu stressed the historic benefits achieved for air transport and global prosperity by States’ adoption of global civil aviation standards, policies, and strategic Global Plans through ICAO, while focusing his key points on why ICAO’s role in realizing globally interoperable aviation systems will be critical to the exciting and innovative future of air transport as well.

His views were presented to the high-level participants assembled for the 2019 Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) World Civil Aviation Chief Executive’s Forum, an invitation-only event which this year explored the theme of “Advancing Aviation : Building Our Future Together". The ICAO Council President further explored these views during his discussion yesterday with the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong.

The ICAO President clarified that, as aviation’s standard setter, it is ICAO’s role to anticipate, enable, and guide this evolution.

Recognizing that exponential growth and rapid digitalization are changing the face of aviation today, Aliu noted that with respect to the doubling in flight volumes being forecast, the only viable solution will be “a transformative evolution in how we exchange information and manage our airspace in the 21st century Air Traffic Management system".

He delineated how the digitization to support this transformation “touches on many other activities” in air transport, stressing that a key challenge this evolution poses for ICAO is how to find “convergent and global aviation solutions which can practically apply to divergent local challenges and developments".

Increasingly digital systems also carry with them higher cybersecurity risks, and the ICAO President accordingly highlighted that “to assure a strong cyber posture for air transport, our goal isn’t to prescribe what firewall someone should use, but rather to establish a comprehensive sectoral architecture which will provide a secure core foundation for sustainable air transport digital interoperability. And key to this objective is the establishment of trusted identities between the senders and receivers of digital information".

He noted that ICAO was already researching methods to certify these trusted identities, and that the related solutions would be consistent with ICAO’s historic role in global civil aviation, while also delivering new efficiencies and cost-savings for everyone engaged in digital communications in air transport.

The ICAO Council President added that “what these new technologies and innovations help us to appreciate is that our sector is changing, quite profoundly, and that the onus is upon all of us, as aviation leaders, to ensure this change is properly managed".

Aliu concluded by drawing the assembled leaders’ attention to ICAO’s World Aviation Forum and Exhibition this coming September, which are focused on the topic of innovation, and highlighted that it would be exploring topics there of interest to both operators and regulators.

He emphasized as well that innovation should not be a priority only for the developed world, and that developing countries stand to benefit significantly as innovations help them to leapfrog many legacy systems and approaches.

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