MONTREAL, 18 September 2007 – Aviation industry leaders from 35 international organisations and civil aviation regulators from 190 Governments meet in Montreal for the 36th International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) triennial assembly, which starts today. Representing the world’s airports will be a delegation from Airports Council International (ACI), led by Director General Robert J Aaronson. “The ICAO assembly is an opportunity for the industry to meet with representatives of the world’s governments to discuss and reach conclusions on the important issues facing the industry, in one place and at one time,” said ACI Director General Robert J Aaronson, “While there will a strong focus at this assembly on the environment, ACI has submitted papers across a range of issues of importance to airports worldwide, including vital steps needed in safety and security.” Importantly, ACI also took part yesterday in a high level meeting on a comprehensive implementation plan for aviation safety in Africa.
In its working paper on safety, ACI is encouraging airport operators, together with their regulators, to focus on airport certification as a high priority, believing that regulators should apply ICAO standards but avoid an excessively prescriptive approach to safety regulation. It also says that a key objective of ACI is to promote the introduction of safety management systems at airports worldwide. ACI will be calling on the world’s civil aviation regulators to accelerate work with their state’s airports on implementing safety management systems and ICAO certification programmes. It also suggests a review of airport specification guidelines for aircraft, building on work that ICAO and the industry successfully completed on Code F specifications for the new large aircraft such as the A380.
On the environment, ACI states that, “Addressing environmental issues is fundamental to the ability of airports to maintain current operation levels and to handle the growing demand for air transportation”. Aircraft noise remains the environmental issue of greatest significance to most airports around the world, with the wider topic of aviation’s contribution to climate change starting to have an impact in Europe in particular. ACI is calling on assembly delegates to endorse regular review of noise and emissions stringency standards and to develop a roadmap to address aviation emissions that contribute to climate change.
In its working paper on security, ACI recognises the swift response of the industry to the so-called ‘liquids and gels’ issue that began in August 2006, but conveys that some of the issues still being felt at airports, saying, “the industry believes that further leadership and urgent action will be needed to achieve a global solution to the problems”. In the ACI security paper, the assembly is invited to request ICAO to: establish a recommended time frame in which states should fully implement the new security arrangements and establish a process to coordinate their implementation internationally; provide a template and process under which states can declare their compliance and facilitate mutual validation by making such information available to other States on request; and consider other suggestions for the more effective implementation of a permanent global solution.
The first of two ACI papers on economics supports ICAO policies on airport charges stating that charges should be established by consultation and agreement between airport operators and airport users wherever possible. It continues, saying that “regulatory mechanism should only be actuated when direct consultations between the airport operator and users have not produced an agreement on airport charges”. The second paper highlights recent trends in airport economics. It says that “steady air traffic growth and capacity issues are keeping capital expenditure for airport infrastructure expansion at a high level”. Adding “airport activities will continue to generate a substantial economic contribution to an increasingly interdependent world economy”. ACI statistics on growth and investment worldwide are highlighted.
ACI is presenting and information paper on cargo, together with the International Air Cargo Association and the International Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations. Air cargo, the paper says, is “a dynamic force in the interdependent global economy because of its vital role in underpinning global trade and the global supply chain”. ACI argues that air cargo traffic rights should be liberalised to take account of the imperative for speedy delivery times. Cargo should be separated from passenger rights, since they involve different markets and different issues. “Cargo’s pivotal role in the global economy is best served by fully liberalised market access, a step already taken by several States.”
Source: Airports Council International (ACI) – European Region
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