Economic Development

Continued passenger traffic growth and robust air cargo demand in 2017

A new, record 4.1 billion passengers were carried by the aviation industry on scheduled services in 2017, according to the preliminary figures ICAO released today. This indicates a 7.1% increase over 2016. The number of departures rose to approximately 37 million globally, and world passenger traffic, expressed in terms of total scheduled revenue passenger-kilometres (RPKs), posted an increase of 7.6% with approximately 7.7 trillion RPKs performed. This growth is a slight improvement from the 7.4% achieved in 2016.

“The sustainability of the tremendous growth in international civil air traffic is demonstrated by the continuous improvements to its safety, security, efficiency and environmental footprint. This sustainability is the result of concerted efforts and cooperation at the national, regional, and global levels, particularly in terms of ICAO compliancy, which is key to accessing the global network,” remarked ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu.

“Air traffic growth is making key contributions towards the achievement of United Nations Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, offering an opportunity to lift a generation out of poverty, figuratively and literally,” added ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu. “As a UN agency, ICAO is deeply committed to ensuring that all countries have an opportunity to benefit from the doubling in flight and passenger volumes forecast for the next 15 years.”

This is illustrated by the fact that over half of the world’s 1.2 billion tourists who travelled across international borders last year were transported by air, and that air transport now carries some 35% of world trade by value. Indeed, more than 90% of cross border Business-to-Consumer (B2C) e-commerce was carried by air transport.


Air travel growth supported by improving global economic conditions

Air travel demand growth has gained solid momentum, supported by the ongoing improvement in global economic conditions throughout the year. World real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is projected to be at 2.7% in 2017, an acceleration from the 2.4% in 2016, and is expected to further strengthen to 2.9% in 2018. The upward trend was driven by the strengthening investment in advanced economies as well as the recovery in emerging market and developing economies owing to the increased export demand. The lower air fares owing to the low fuel price also continued to stimulate traffic growth, albeit at a more moderate level compared to 2016.


Passenger traffic

International scheduled passenger traffic expressed in terms of RPKs grew by 8.0% in 2017, up from the 7.8% recorded in 2016. All regions recorded stronger growth than in the previous year, with an exception of a slowdown in the Middle East due to a combination of factors such as the competitive environment – competing hubs and more point to point services, low oil prices and the impact of a strong US dollar. The region carried 14% RPK share and experienced a significant decline in growth from the 11.8% observed in 2016 to 6.9% in 2017. Europe remained as the largest international market with 37% share of world international RPKs, and grew strongly by 8.1%, supported by the improved economic conditions in the region. Asia/Pacific had the second largest share with 29%, and grew by 9.6%, the second strongest growth among all regions. North America accounted for a 13% share, and demonstrated an improvement compared to last year, however, remained as the slowest growing region with a growth of 4.9%. Carriers in Latin America and the Caribbean managed 4% of world international RPKs and saw the biggest improvement among all regions and recorded the strongest growth at 10.0%. Africa with the smallest share of 3%, grew slightly faster than last year at 7.6%.

International scheduled passenger traffic (RPK) growth in 2017

In terms of domestic scheduled air services, overall markets grew by 7.0% in 2017, an improvement from the 6.7% growth recorded in 2016. Owing to the strong demand in India and China, especially the former with over 20.0% growth, the Asia/Pacific region grew strongly by 10.6% in 2017 while North America posted a slower pace compared to last year, at 3.8% in 2017. Both regions were the world’s largest domestic markets with each accounting for around 41% share of world domestic scheduled traffic.

Low-cost carrier activity

The low-cost carriers (LCCs) consistently grew at a faster pace compared to the world average growth, and its market share continued to increase, specifically in emerging economies. In 2017, the LCCs carried an estimated 1.2 billion passengers, and accounted for approximately 30% of the world total scheduled passengers. LCCs in Europe represented 33% of total passengers carried by LCCs, followed by Asia/Pacific and North America with 31% and 26%, respectively.

Load factors improved to a record high

Industry capacity expansion outstripped the increase in travel demand. Total capacity offered by the world’s airlines in 2017, expressed in available seat-kilometres (ASKs), increased globally by around 6.4%. As a result, overall passenger load factor improved by 0.9percentage points and reached a record high of 81.2%. The Middle East was the only region posting a decline in load factors, as being under pressure with the slowing trend in traffic growth. Load factor varies by region, ranging from 70.8% for Africa to 83.4% for North America.

Surge in air cargo

Underpinned by the improving global economic conditions and world trade with increasing import and export orders, air cargo demonstrated a strong rebound in 2017. World scheduled freight traffic, measured in freight tonne-kilometres (FTK) grew robustly by 9.5% in 2017, a significant improvement from the 3.8% growth registered in 2016. The international segment of freight traffic which represents nearly 87% of total air freight grew by around 10.3% up from the 3.7% growth in 2016. The scheduled international freight load factor improved as well from around 53% in 2016 to 55% in 2017.

Airline financial results

Average jet fuel prices increased by approximately 25% in 2017 compared to 2016 but remained significantly lower than the prices observed for the ten years prior to 2016. This coupled with improvement in traffic helped the airlines to maintain their operating profit nearly at the same levels seen in 2016. The airline industry is expected to end 2017 with another record operating profit of around USD 60 billion and an operating margin of 8.0%. The net profits for the Industry are expected to be around USD 36 billion with nearly 45% of this being generated by air carriers of North America.

Improving economic conditions forecasted by the World Bank could see traffic growth and profitability momentum continuing in 2018.

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Economic Development

African States seek sustainable growth

“Aviation growth is poised to bring substantial socio- economic benefits and sustainable prosperity to your States,” Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the ICAO Council, told a Special Meeting of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). “But to do so we must ensure that you are prepared with facilities and systems to handle the increased flight volumes, safely and efficiently. ICAO would strongly recommend that you also focus a good deal of your attention on the determination of practical solutions and action plans to modernize existing aviation infrastructure for airport and air navigation services.”

The ECOWAS special meeting was part of the Second ICAO Meeting on the Sustainable Development of Air Transport in Africa,which was held in Accra, Ghana in March 2017. The event built on the Declaration on the Sustainable Development of Air Transport in Africa (the Antananarivo Declaration), adopted in 2015. Through this strategic document, participants from 34 States, international organizations and aviation stakeholders decided to take action for the sustainable development of air transport in Africa in several key areas including:

■   Liberalization of market access and air carrier ownership and control

■   Cooperation throughout the air transport value chain

■   Consumer protection

■   Fair competition

■   Security and facilitation

■   Funding for infrastructure and intermodal integration

■   Support to remote or peripheral destinations

■   Taxes and user charges

■   Capacity-building for qualified personnel

■   Support to the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM)

■   Fleet modernization, and adherence to international instruments.

Dr Aliu said, “West Africa’s air transport market has huge and untapped potential.” Its air transport market represents only about 17 percent of Africa-wide aviation activity in a sub-region with 31 percent of Africa’s entire population. “In order for air transport to play its role as an engine of economic growth in this region, States should liberalize market access in accordance with the Yamoussoukro Decision and in line with the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063,” he added, including creation of a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), which he called“a low-cost policy measure which can have dramatic economic results.”

Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, Accra, Ghana


Challenges of liberalization

Dr Paul-Antoine Marie Ganemtore, Head of Air Transport Unit, Infrastructure Department, for the ECOWAS Commission, outlined challenges facing air transport in West African States, including:

■   Political unrest, which can result in damaged airport infrastructure and facilities

■   Protectionist attitudes of some States affecting granting of air traffic rights

■   Insufficient connectivity between capital cities of Member States

■   Poor cooperation between ECOWAS air carriers with respect to flight schedules, interline agreements, joint ventures, and alliances

■   Poor cooperation among air navigation service providers (ANSPs)

■   Inadequate infrastructure, equipment and facilities

■   Deficiencies on Aviation Security and Safety identified in member States by ICAO Audits (apart from some success stories)

■   Inadequate skilled manpower and capacity

■   High operating costs, including aviation taxes and fees, fuel, insurance, maintenance, and training of personnel

■   Poor access to financing

Dr Ganemtore said a main objective of ECOWAS is to create a legal foundation for a Community Air Transport Market in West Africa which will guarantee a competitive market and enabling environment for airlines, ensure quality services, provide high aviation security standards, foster more transparent fares, facilitate implementation of Public Service Obligations (PSO), and protect passengers’ rights. He recommended a study on the creation of a regional airline, a regional aircraft maintenance facility, and a regional  aircraft leasing company.

Mr Simon Allotey, Director-General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), advocated “a concerted effort by all aviation Industry players to solicit buy-in from several African states who have not signed the Solemn Commitment to a Single African Air Transport Market,” the flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063.

Mr Allotey has served on the ICAO Council and ICAO’s Air Navigation Commission (ANC) and is currently the Chairman of the RASG-AFI (Regional Aviation Safety Group for the African – Indian Ocean Region). He called for “removal of non-physical barriers to sustainable air transport such as protectionist policies and unfair competition rules”; as well as improving compliance with ICAO

Safety and Security Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs); increasing intra-African air connectivity; and removal of excessive fees, charges and taxes such as fuel taxes and passenger levies. Passenger charges, for example, typically range US$40-120 at several stations, compared to the global average of about $25, putting African aviation at a huge competitive disadvantage.

As an example to emulate, Mr Allotey pointed to the European Union (EU) market, “which is almost fully deregulated. Carriers from within the EU are free to operate any route within the EU without restriction, to include cabotage. All restrictions on airline ownership have been removed. And the EU also negotiates open skies bilateral agreements as a block.”

“The agreement of a more liberal air market between South Africa and Kenya in the early 2000s led to a 69 percent rise in passenger traffic. This is a practical experience of how liberalizing has improved the growth of air services demand,” said Mr Tunde Oyekola, CEO of El-Mansur Atelier Group, an Architecture, Engineering and Construction company based in Nigeria. He is also Chair of the Airports Council International World Business Partners Advisory Board.

Mr Oyekola also noted that a study by Intervistas, consulting for the International Air Transport Association (IATA), shows the impacts of liberalizing the air market between 12 countries in the four sub regions of Africa – total traffic flows between the countries were projected to increase by 81 percent, which represents several million passengers who could currently travel by air but are unable to do so for reasons of cost, flight availability, or convenience.

Mr James Andrianalisoa, Director-General, Aviation Civile de Madagascar (ACM) and Chair of the First ICAO Meeting on Sustainable Development of Air Transport in Africa two years ago, reminded: “Let’s remember the Yamoussoukro Decisions [which basically require a more liberalized airspace and an air transport single market in Africa] were taken in March 1999; that was almost 18 years ago! There is definitely an urgent need to speed up the pace of change to satisfy both the political vision and agenda and the air transport industry requests.”

“Travellers will only patronize African airlines if safety standards are up to global standards,” said Dr Elijah Chingosho, African Airlines Association (AFRAA) Secretary General. He noted safety standards have increased significantly in the past few years, and in 2016 there were no safety-related fatal airline accidents in Africa. “The improved safety standards show that the efforts by various stakeholders to enhance a safety culture are yielding positive results. These efforts need to continue to be enhanced.”

Dr Chingosho said there is need for competitive financing for restructuring African airlines and consolidation. “The African airline industry is highly fragmented, with average airline fleet size of about 6-12 aircraft. Such airlines lack economies of scale and resources to ensure adequate market coverage and good connectivity for its customers. The creation of a Single African Air Transport Market will facilitate consolidation.”

He also lauded the new African passport, launched last year by the African Union. The African Union’s Agenda 2063 laid out the goal of free movement of persons in the continent “with seamless borders” and set a near-term target of 2018 for “the abolishment of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries.”

Mr Frederic Malaud, Air Transport Development Manager in ICAO’s Air Transport Bureau (ATB), outlined the rationale for State Air Transport Action Plan System (SATAPS), which support States by monitoring progress towards implementation, identifying priority areas for action, and exchanging information on challenges and best practices pertinent to the implementation of 2015 Antananarivo Declaration and the 2014 ICAO Declaration on the Development of Air Cargo in Africa adopted in Lomé, Togo.

Preliminary feedback from SATAPS, based on participation of eight States, reflects support for liberalization of market access, air cargo and air carrier ownership and control; for ICAO’s core principles on consumer protection, and for cooperation between authorities and between air transport operators; approval of alliances and codeshare agreements. There is also support for ICAO policies on taxation and user charges (Docs 8632 and 9082) but concern with the creation of levies on passengers having the nature of taxes. Progress is reflected in areas of safety, including implementation of Safety Management Systems (SMS).

Connecting with the Diaspora

Under the Chairmanship of Mr Simon Allotey, a special meeting was held on promoting tourism and air links between African States and the Diaspora, especially in the Caribbean States. Based on the African Union’s “Declaration of the Global African Diaspora Summit,” signed in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2012, participants recognized aviation as a key driver for development, and identified priorities for the development of air links, tourism, trade and investments.

Among the conclusions of the special meeting, participants stressed the need to facilitate the exchange of air traffic rights, revise existing bilateral air service agreements and explore opportunities for multilateral agreements, including through the ICAO Air Services Negotiation (ICAN) facility. It was decided that a dedicated coordination group, formed of African Union Commission, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and ICAO experts, should develop a model air services agreement.

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Technical Cooperation

A spotlight on Rwanda: How compliance with international standards has facilitated development

On 3 February 1964, the Government of Rwanda became a signatory to the Chicago Convention of 1944.

Since its inception, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), as a United Nations specialized agency, has actively worked toward streamlining the global aviation industry. This has been done through various programmes and audits that emphasize Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) to incorporate new changes.

In Rwanda’s case, there has been an aggressive strategy toward ensuring world-class safety, security and the provision of quality services – elements that are key to industry sustainability.

Post-genocide Rwanda

At the end of 1994, Rwanda’s economy was in tatters due to the grueling effects of the genocide against the Tutsi. One million people were massacred. Both human resources and infrastructure were in total ruins across all sectors of the national economy. However, this calamitous situation did not deter the drive for reconstruction by the current Government of Rwanda and the pursuit of an ambitious plan that set off a speedy recovery. In this regard, the aviation sector was no exception.

As the Government of Rwanda implemented its plan to improve macroeconomics and rejuvenate the private sector, it recognized that a vibrant aviation industry could break the barriers of the country’s landlocked status and it formulated a long-term vision of linking Rwanda to world markets.

Aviation was earmarked as a major pillar of the economy and major investment was dedicated to the sector. ICAO proved to be an invaluable partner to Rwanda in this endeavor because it offered a basis for compliance that provided a solid foundation for the aviation sector upon which momentum could be built.

ICAO Guidance

Since the outset of reconstruction, ICAO has provided guidance to ensure that development efforts have been internationally compliant. Among others, ICAO’s key endeavors have been to resolve the outstanding significant safety concerns; improve the State’s effective implementation of the eight critical elements of the safety and security oversight systems; accelerate implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision to improve connectivity through liberalization of air transport; ensure access and affordability to the public; and achieve efficient and seamless air traffic management systems.

In transforming the socio-economic state of the African continent and the world at large, ICAO has also provided assistance to ensure the sustained growth of air transport, thus contributing to 13 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Rwanda has greatly benefitted from a relationship with ICAO that dates back to the domestication and operationalization of the Convention on International Civil Aviation and its related Annexes through smart regulations that have guided both regulators and operators in achieving globally accepted standards.

2007 USOAP Audit

Since the 2007 ICAO’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) audit, Rwanda’s regulatory aviation arm, the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA) has worked tirelessly to ensure compliance by resolving weaknesses identified through gap analysis. This can be confirmed by the 2012 ICVM audit that showed tremendous improvement in, not only putting regulations in place, but also following up with the implementation process to achieve tangible results. ICAO’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ICAO EASF) has followed up by conducting continuous guidance missions to Rwanda called Regional Office Safety Team Assistance (ROST) missions.

This support has significantly enhanced the RCAA’s inspection, quality management capacities as well as its primary and operating regulations, and technical guidance materials. The institution has also ensured the quality of airworthiness, flight operations and personnel licensing staff through continuous knowledge development to continuously upgrade human resource capabilities, which has consequently raised safety standard to the benefit of passengers.

With ICAO SARPs as the foundation, the RCAA has become steadfast in its resolve to make the aviation sector the best it can be, and the country is on a clear path of developing an efficient, safe and secure civil aviation industry in Rwanda. With an efficient organization in place, the compliance results are excellent and the ultimate goal of becoming an aviation hub is in sight.

This dynamic environment has attracted international carriers to Rwanda as a preferred destination. Rwanda’s alignment with international standards has enabled the country to enter into Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs) with over 50 countries within and beyond Africa, and the country is now championing the accelerated implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision (Open Skies) following the solemn commitment by 11 Heads of State in 2015 to liberalize African markets.

In just five years, RwandAir has achieved IOSA and ISAGO certifications, enabling the airline to spread its wings to more than 19 destinations across Africa and to Dubai. The national carrier will very soon add London, the United States, and India to its list of destinations. The certifications attest to the relentless work being done by the regulatory arm of the Government of Rwanda so that the airline ensures internationally recognized operational efficiency in the areas of safety, security and the provision of traveller-centric service.

Major Investments in Airports

The correlation between international compliance and the Government of Rwanda’s persistent efforts to develop the aviation sector over the last five years has resulted in investments of over $70 million in infrastructure and enhanced technology. At Kigali International Airport, major investments were made to ensure reliability and efficiency in air traffic management and meteorological systems, in addition to considerable minimization of bird strikes with the installation of a Bird Collision Avoidance System (BCAS) along the runway.

A new apron has doubled parking capacity, and the expansion of the terminal building has cut back queues and congestion. The upgrade has also enabled faster movement for passengers, hence reducing check-in time. With the new clearance software, acquiring an overflight and landing permit takes five minutes compared to previous clearances that took up to three days. As a result, the Kigali International Airport has, for the last five years, been ranked among the ten best airports in Africa.

Construction of the state-of-the-art New Bugesera International Airport (NBIA) with bigger and better handling capacities is underway. In a show of dedication to the growth of aviation and the impact on the economy, the Government of Rwanda initiated a public-private partnership with Mota-engil, a Portuguese construction company, to jointly spearhead this project. Located 40 km from Kigali City, the NBIA is designed to accommodate the steadily increasing air traffic, which is growing by 13 percent annually.

UAV Regulations

In February 2016, Rwanda became one of the first countries in Africa to put in place regulations governing Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAVs) commonly, called drones. Since then, UAV related companies and activities have become frequent in the country. They have gradually been incorporated into the economy and used in the formulation of significant income generating projects, research and recreational activities.

Rwanda has been able to build an aviation sector that has increasingly become a pillar of economic muscle linking Rwanda to international markets and breaking down market barriers. Its aggressive strategy promises to benefit the Rwandan people for decades to come.


About the Author

Tonny Barigye has been the Public Relations Officer at Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority for 7 years. A former freelance journalist for 9 years with New Vision in Uganda and reporter with the New Times Publication Ltd. in Rwanda, he was also a pioneer writer of the Private Sector Publication in Rwanda. Recently, he launched a bi-annual publication for the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority covering the latest news, analyses and transformational activities within Rwanda’s aviation sector and beyond.


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Accident Survival 101: What passengers need to know

Accident investigations have shown that deficiencies and inaccuracies in safety information briefings, signs, placards and markings can negatively impact passenger survival rates. Well-informed, knowledgeable passengers have a better chance of surviving a life-threatening situation that may occur on board an aircraft.

ICAO’s new Manual on Information and Instructions for Passenger Safety (Doc 10086), developed by the ICAO Cabin Safety Group (ICSG), provides guidance material to ensure the necessary safety-related information and instructions are provided to passengers to enhance their chances of survival in the event of an accident.

Survivability in an aircraft accident is dependent on multiple factors. Certification standards for crashworthiness and ditching are designed to enhance passenger survivability by maintaining the integrity of the aircraft’s structure and providing access to emergency exits so that occupants can escape. Cabin crew evacuation procedures further improve survivability, by enabling crew members to direct passengers and assist them in quickly leaving the aircraft. Passengers’ survival rates are improved when they are informed about the correct use of equipment, such as seatbelts, and the actions they should take in the event of an emergency, such as how to adopt the “brace-for-impact” position.

This life-saving information is relayed to passengers via passenger safety briefing cards, videos, signs, placards, emergency lighting systems and verbal briefings. ICAO provisions in Annex 6 – Operation of Aircraft, Part I – International Commercial Air Transport – Aeroplanes cover the safety-related information and instructions that an operator should provide to passengers. The goal of these provisions is to require operators to communicate specific, accurate information and instructions to passengers, to facilitate understanding.

What do passengers need to know to increase their chances of survival?

To improve passengers’ safety and enhance their reaction and survival in the event of an emergency, operators are required to provide the necessary information to passengers. A means of doing this is the pre-flight safety demonstration. The safety demonstration is conducted by cabin crew or it may be a video developed by the operator and presented to passengers prior to take-off. This demonstration includes key items that passengers need to know to increase their chances of survival in an accident, such as the use of seat belts, the location of emergency exits, emergency escape path lighting and exit signs, the location and use of oxygen masks and life jackets, as well as how to brace for impact.

In addition, certain passengers may require personalized individual briefings, adapted to their specific needs. These passengers include, but are not limited to persons travelling with infants, unaccompanied children, persons with disabilities, persons with mobility impairments, and persons on stretchers. An individual safety briefing

for these passengers should include any information contained in the safety demonstration and the passenger safety briefing card which the passenger would not be able to receive otherwise (for example, if the passenger is visually impaired) and is necessary for the safety of that person during the flight.

What languages should the cabin crew speak on board?

Information provided via safety briefings, announcements and the safety demonstration should be transmitted in the language of the operator and in English. On international flights, operators should use English, the official language(s) of the State of departure and the State of destination for safety briefings, to cover the largest percentage of possible passengers on board.


Moving toward pictograms

An effective way to overcome language barriers is the use of pictograms. Pictograms are the recommended media type for signs, markings and placards (versus text content). They can help passengers understand the location of live-saving equipment and provide information on actions to take during an emergency, such as how to open an exit. To promote global harmonization and understanding of information displayed in aircraft cabins, Airbus launched a project to redesign all its placards using only pictograms.

Who gets to sit at an emergency exit row?

Space is a luxury on board commercial aircraft, particularly in economy-class cabins. Therefore, passengers will often try to obtain a seat in an emergency exit row. Since this row has direct access to an emergency exit, the distance between seats in this row is bigger than other rows.

However, not all passengers should be allowed to sit at an emergency exit row. Exits such as those at the over-wing are referred to as unstaffed exits (or self-help exits). This means that these emergency exits are not assigned to cabin crew members. Passengers are expected to open them in an evacuation. Passengers should meet certain criteria to be eligible to occupy seats located in an emergency exit row. Such criteria are necessary so that a passenger’s presence at an emergency exit row does not adversely affect the safety of other occupants during an evacuation, or result in harm to themselves. These criteria include, but are not limited to:

■   Being physically capable of operating the emergency exit;

■   Capable of understanding the printed and spoken instructions;

■   Able to visually determine if the exit is safe to open (e.g. that there is no fire outside); and

■   Have sufficient mobility, strength and dexterity to reach, operate and stow, or dispose of, the exit hatch.

In an evacuation, passengers will often panic and rush to exits. It is important to set a minimum age for passengers who can sit at these exits. Infants and small children should be forbidden from occupying these seats as they may be injured by other passengers trying to escape the aircraft.

Brace positions in forward-facing passenger seats equipped with a lap strap seat belt only (courtesy IBRACE)

How to brace for impact?

Occupant survivability is linked to three phases of an accident:

1. Surviving the crash sequence (i.e. the impact forces, consequent deceleration, and secondary impacts)

2. Evacuating the aircraft; and

3. Surviving the post-evacuation environment (e.g. sea, jungle, mountainous region).

Occupants who are seriously injured during the crash sequence may be unable to evacuate and may suffer fatal injuries as a result (e.g. if occupants are unconscious or have a broken leg, and the aircraft is on fire). To enable the physical evacuation of the aircraft, it is important that passengers take actions to minimize the potential for injuries during the crash sequence.

One action that passengers can take to contribute to their survival is to assume an appropriate “brace-for-impact” position, commonly referred to as the brace position. This is an action where a person pre-positions his/her body against whatever he/she is most likely to be thrown against, and which may significantly reduce injuries sustained.

Since the 1960s, extensive research has been conducted on brace positions, using anthropomorphic dummies in a series of sled- impact tests. The aim of such research is to determine the most beneficial passenger brace position in forward-facing economy type aircraft seats. Research shows a reduction of secondary impact by adopting a brace position.

Although extensive research has been conducted; no single brace position has been determined. There is great variation in passenger characteristics and abilities, in-seat class characteristics, seat pitch, and direction of travel (some seats face forward, others are angled or face rearwards). Results from internationally recognized research studies on the brace positions were used to determine the recommended brace positions presented in Doc 10086. ICAO worked closely with the International Board for Research into Aircraft Crash Evaluation (IBRACE), a group composed of subject matter experts involved in the testing of brace positions, either from an engineering or medical perspective.

“Leave everything”

Many evacuations have shown a tendency for passengers to attempt to retrieve their belongings in an evacuation – despite cabin crew members repeatedly instructing them to abandon carry-on baggage.

Passengers are unaware of the risks associated with taking their baggage during an evacuation. The consequences could include impeding an orderly and timely evacuation, damaging an evacuation slide, and increasing the risk of injury. As passengers insist on taking their belongings with them, cabin crew are faced with passenger management and crowd control issues in an evacuation. The new ICAO manual contains recommendations to manage carry-on baggage issues in the event of an evacuation. These include changes to the operator’s policies and procedures, training for cabin and ground crew, and passenger education.


The ICAO Manual on Information and Instructions for Passenger Safety (Doc 10086) is now available to States in English on the ICAO-NET at information can be obtained here on the ICAO Cabin Safety Website. 


About the Author

Martin Maurino is the Safety, Efficiency and Operations Officer at ICAO who heads the ICAO Cabin Safety Programme. Before joining ICAO, he held safety analysis and safety management roles at Transport Canada and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Martin began his career in aviation as a cabin crew member at Air Canada.



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Capacity & Efficiency

Where do today’s airline pilots come from?

Every year CAE works with more than 300 airlines and trains more than 120,000 pilots, connections that give them unique insights into both market and industry needs. After analyzing the requirements and projected growth in passenger air traffic, CAE revealed their insight to the broader industry through the Airline Pilot Demand Outlook publication they released in June 2017. Though we are sharing excerpts from their 10-year analysis in this article, the full publication is available online here.

Pilot/Aircraft Ratios

The number of pilots required per aircraft is primarily determined by aircraft utilization and related regulations. All commercial aircraft require at least one licensed captain and a second pilot, who is either a captain or first officer, in the cockpit. To maximize aircraft utilization, airlines need to adequately crew their aircraft. The majority of today’s airlines fly fleets of regional aircraft, narrow-body jets and wide-body jets to serve a variety of short-, medium- and long-range routes with aircraft size and seat capacity optimized to match passenger demand.

Over the last 10 years, the increase in aircraft utilization resulting from efficiency improvements has driven a slight growth in the average crew ratio and is expected to remain at a similar level over the next decade.

Pilot Retirement and Attrition

Most national regulators impose a mandatory retirement age of 65 for airline pilots. Other reasons for leaving the workforce include early retirement, the pursuit of a non-flying career, loss of medical fitness, etc.

The Americas have the highest average pilot age. North America’s high percentage of senior pilots reflects significant recruitment activity in the 1980s and 1990s as airline deregulation expanded the industry and major hubs were developed. The recent consolidation of network carriers and their focus on efficiency slowed new hiring. Europe has seen an influx of younger professional pilots over the past 15 years which can be partially attributed to the rapid expansion of LCCs. In addition, many experienced European pilots have moved to the more
rapidly growing Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions. This has left Europe with the youngest average pilot group of any region.

As experienced captains retire, a chain reaction of pilot upgrades and new hires is triggered. For example, the departure of an experienced wide-body captain creates the need to upgrade a first officer to fill the vacant seat. This then creates downward pressure on airlines to develop and upgrade more first officers and captains.

Filling Tomorrow’s Cockpits

Airlines are not just looking for first officers to fill the right seat. They’re looking for candidates with the potential to become captains within their organizations. As an industry, we must continuously improve and adapt our assessment and selection processes for different regions and airlines to reflect pilot competency requirements.

Careful matching of individual aptitude with airline needs will allow airlines to identify candidates today who can evolve into their future captains.A thorough screening and selection process performed early in the training process has proven to be very successful in identifying candidates with the right mix of language proficiency, flying skills and attitude to evolve into high-quality pilots.

In addition to identifying future potential captains, airline requirements can be used to assess if the candidate, whether an aspiring cadet or a direct entry pilot, will be able to flourish within the airline’s culture. For example, one airline might need a pilot willing to travel for extended periods prior to returning home, while another airline might only offer daily short-haul return flights. An in-depth mapping of airline needs along with a multifaceted assessment of each candidate can correctly match the right candidate with the right airline.

Airlines are also developing programmes to tap into an underrepresented labour pool – female pilots. These programmes encourage young women to consider an aviation career and provide airline sponsorship for flight training. Women currently represent less than 5% of airline pilots.

As the assessment and selection process improves, we’re seeing lower dropout rates and higher placement rates. Ensuring the right fit is allowing candidates to flourish while increasing retention rates.

Developing tomorrow’s airline pilots

While onboarding 255,000 new first officers, the industry also needs to transition 180,000 pilots into captains by 2027. The aviation industry continues to raise the bar for pilot training and increase its expectations of pilots. At the same time, we’re seeing much faster promotions to captain.

A few years ago, it was common to see a co-pilot spend eight to ten years working in the right seat before becoming captain. Today, first officers are given the opportunity to upgrade with much less seniority than in the past. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see a pilot taking full command of an aircraft after only a few years as a co-pilot.

This steeper pilot learning curve places additional stress on the current training system. It’s becoming a challenge to train to the new standards in the time allocated. As a result, the need for remedial training is increasing.Although remedial training is a valid mitigation tactic, it impacts operations as pilots are removed from line flying to undergo addition training. To adapt to today’s realities and ensure pilot readiness, we must improve training effectiveness.

Emerging training and technology innovations that integrate training data with line performance data can help build such an approach.

Adaptive training delivery

By providing an instructor with data-driven training insights, the instructor can adapt the training session to be more effective. This yields tools the instructor can leverage to objectively assess pilot performance. Through a better understanding of the pilot’s profile, the instructor is able to adapt training and delivery to better address the competency gaps. A word of caution: not all senior pilots are effective instructors. We must look for instructors with the right mix of teaching and communication skills to ensure we provide the most effective training.

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Evolving global strategies for safety and air navigation planning, development and implementation

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SKY TALKS: Jitu Thaker presents Advance Passenger Information API & Passenger Name Record Data PNR

Watch as Jitu Thaker presents Advance Passenger Information API & Passenger Name Record Data PNR.

During the A39 Assembly, ICAO embarked on a new initiative that will help us bring our hosted workshops to a broader audience throughout the year. The A39 workshops will launch as Sky Talks, a dynamic video experience that shares the knowledge of authoritative presenters and knowledgable industry professionals. The format included 30 minute presentations in-front of a live conference audience. The taped presentations are being edited and for release to the public through this blog and our associated social media platforms reaching hundreds of thousands of Aviation professionals online.

IWAF2017 Take a look at what you missed last year  in Nigeria.

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Evolving global strategies for safety and air navigation planning, development and implementation

ICAO will host the once-a-decade Air Navigation Conference in October 2018, that will bring Member States and aviation stakeholders together to build on ever-evolving global strategies for safety and air navigation planning, development and implementation. The ten-day event will coalesce views of the global aviation community around major objectives for safety and air navigation and set priorities for the coming years.

The theme of the 2018 conference is “From Development to Implementation” which encompasses implementation of operational improvements, such as technology, operational concepts, and roadmaps, from the conceptual phase until deployment. It emphasizes the importance of concepts for global use, development of implementation plans regionally, and implementation of performance improvements locally, based on specific operational requirements in a cost-effective manner

In December, as part of the back-to-back events organized to drive progress on the topics and solutions that will be presented to governments in October,  ICAO’s second Global Air Navigation Industry Symposium (GANIS/2) and first Safety and Air Navigation Implementation Symposium (SANIS/1), took place at ICAO Headquarters in Montreal. State and industry experts reviewed proposals for how to integrate the future air navigation system to accommodate global aviation’s forecast doubling of flights and passengers in 15 years’ time, these results are expected to inform much of the agenda for the 2018 Conference.

When ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu opened the SANIS/1 event, she pointed to how safety, capacity and efficiency of the world’s aviation network is presently threatened by the speed at which it is expanding. She elaborated that sectoral growth cannot be permitted to negatively impact the key strategic performance targets, and existing levels of aviation safety, efficiency, and environmental protection should continue to trend upward even as operations expand.

Dr. Liu recognized that ICAO’s safety audit programmes have been recording some troubling variations in the State-by-State levels, of effective implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices, noting that “this variation means that some States are not quite so well prepared as others to take advantage of the economic benefits of aviation growth and development.

She further highlighted that the dynamic whereby States assure ICAO compliance, whether through direct local actions or requests for international technical assistance under the agency’s No Country Left Behind initiative, must begin with their own high-level commitments and demonstrations of political will.

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Industry nominee receives ICAO Walter Binaghi Air Navigation Commission Laurel Award

During ICAO’s Second Global Air Navigation Industry Symposium (GANIS/2) event that was held earlier this month, Mr. David Nakamura received the ICAO Walter Binaghi Air Navigation Commission Laurel Award.

ICAO’s Air Navigation Commission (ANC) is the technical body leading the development of international civil aviation Standards and Recommended Practices. Its Laurel Award is bestowed on an individual or group who, in its opinion, has made an outstanding contribution to furthering the safety, regularity and efficiency of international civil aviation through participation in the Commission’s work.

“David Nakamura was nominated for the Laurel Award by the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations (ICCAIA), making him the first Laurel Award recipient from industry. This is a fitting symbol of the collaboration between States and Industry that is crucial to ensuring the pertinence of the Air Navigation Commission’s work,” remarked Mr. Hajime Yoshimura, President of the ANC. “The Laurel Award recognizes Mr. Nakamura’s outstanding contribution to the safety, regularity and efficiency of international civil aviation through his valuable work on the development of performance-based navigation. It also recognizes his overall contribution to the work of the Air Navigation Commission through, inter alia, participation in the Air Traffic Management Requirements and Performance Panel (ATMRPP), the Instrument Flight Procedures Panel (lFPP), the Separation and Airspace Safety Panel (SASP) and the Performance-based Navigation Study Group (PBN SG).”

The ICAO Air Navigation Commission Chamber at ICAO Headquarters in Montréal, Canada. ANC experts are nominated and selected for their technical knowledge, and are not considered to be representing their home States when serving as Commissioners. The same is true for the experts from States and industry who serve on its many technical panels.

Since 1999, seven other individuals have received this prestigious award. It consists of a statuette replica of ‘Vuelo,’ a sculpture gifted to ICAO by the Government of Mexico that symbolizes flight and sits in the ANC Chamber.

Previous recipients are:
1999 — Mr. Olivier Carel, Direction de la Navigation Aérienne, France
2001 — Mr. R. Roy Grimes, Federal Aviation Administration, United States
2003 — Miss Kaye R. Warner, Civil Aviation Administration, United Kingdom
2006 — Mr. Arthur Bradshaw, Air Traffic and Navigation Services, Republic of South Africa
2008 — Mr. Brian Colamosca, Federal Aviation Administration, United States
2011 — Mr. Yuri Mikhailovich Fyodorov, Russian Federation
2015 — Mr. Robert Charles Butcher, Australia.

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ICAO signs new agreements to better align international aviation standardization

ICAO concluded new technical information agreements that will help ensure greater alignment between its global aviation standards and the related work being pursued by RTCA Inc., the European Organization for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE), SAE International, and ARINC Industry Activities.

The four memoranda were signed on the sidelines of the UN aviation agency’s Second Global Air Navigation Industry Symposium (GANIS/2) which was held during Aviation Week at ICAO Headquarters from 11-15 December 2017. The event established new partnerships in aid of more integrated sectoral standards for communications, navigation, and surveillance (CNS) systems and air traffic management (ATM).

Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu formalized the agreements on behalf of ICAO, and was joined on the occasion by the President of  EUROCAE, Mr. Francis Schubert, the President of the RTCA, Ms. Margaret Jenny, SAE International’s Director of Aerospace Standards, Mr. David Alexander, and the Executive Director of ARINC Industry Activities, Mr. Michael D. Rockwell.


ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu (centre) formalized the new information sharing agreements on behalf of ICAO with (from left to right) SAE International’s Director of Aerospace Standards, Mr. David Alexander; the President of EUROCAE, Mr. Francis Schubert; the President of the RTCA, Ms. Margaret Jenny; and the Executive Director of ARINC Industry Activities, Mr. Michael D. Rockwell.

“The exchange of information permitted by these new agreements will be very helpful to ICAO’s efforts to develop mature and comprehensive standards for international civil aviation,” Dr. Liu emphasized. “Industry standards serve unique and often complementary roles in support of global air navigation objectives, which underscore the importance of ICAO’s provisions being fully compatible with the efforts of these new partners.”

In addition to aligning the work of the important agencies responsible for standards affecting international aviation operations, the new agreements also iron out some helpful aspects relating to confidentiality requirements and intellectual property rights.

But most importantly,” Dr. Liu stressed, “the enhanced interoperability these agreements have achieved will directly support improved sectoral performance in terms of aviation’s safety, sustainability and efficiency.”

ICAO’s GANIS 2017 event was followed back-to-back by the Organization’s first ever Safety and Air Navigation Implementation Symposium (SANIS), you can view selected presentations from the event on the Live Streams page.


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Security & Facilitation

Priorities and targets in new ICAO Global Aviation Security Plan endorsed by Asia and Pacific States

ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu welcomed the endorsement yesterday of a new Asia and Pacific (APAC) Aviation Security Roadmap, one which will now align national and regional programmes and targets with the UN aviation agency’s new Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP).

In her address to the ICAO Regional Aviation Security Conference, generously hosted in Bangkok this year by the Government of Thailand, Dr. Liu stressed that ICAO’s new GASeP sets out key priorities where ICAO, States, and other agencies should now focus their urgent attention.

“The GASeP includes an ambitious framework for enhancing international aviation security over the coming years, and through the 32 actions and 94 tasks identified in its Roadmap, the aviation security community will now be much better prepared and more effectively aligned with Security Council Resolution 2309,” she underscored. “And while aggressive in some respects, these targets and dates are also fully achievable with dedicated effort.”

​ICAO Secretary General, Dr. Fang Liu, and His Excellency Prayut Chan-ocha, Prime Minster of Thailand, open the ICAO Regional Aviation Security Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. PM Chan-ocha expressed his country’s thanks for ICAO’s leadership in aviation safety and security, while commending the expanded role now being played by the Organization’s Bangkok Regional Office in Asia and Pacific aviation affairs. Dr. Liu commended the successful efforts made by Thailand under the leadership of the Prime Minister to resolve their Significant Safety Concerns (SSC), and emphasized the significant flight and passenger growth forecast for regional and global air transport, and the critical importance of Thailand increasing its investment for aviation infrastructure and human resource development to optimize this growth for local economic development. She also stressed in this regard that Thailand should begin as soon as possible to integrate its aviation development objectives into its National Economic Development Masterplan.

The main outcome ICAO was seeking at the Bangkok conference was the fine-tuning of a Regional GASeP Roadmap specific to the Asia and Pacific Region. Secretary General Liu praised the related commitments which were ultimately realized, and noted that they were a critical first step which ICAO expected to be emulated worldwide.

She also noted that the new GASeP Roadmap would entail some important and fairly significant work ahead for a number of Asia and Pacific States, and called on them “to be open to accepting assistance to enhance their local effective implementation, whether it involves training, technology, or mentoring, as well as to ensuring that any solutions set out are fully sustainable.”

Highlighting ICAO’s Regional Aviation Security Coordination Forums, and the Asia and Pacific’s Cooperative Aviation Security Programme, Dr. Liu reiterated that ICAO will continue to help coordinate assistance and capacity building activities between donor and partner States, and organizations and recipient States, consistent with its ongoing No Country Left Behind initiative.

She also stressed that human resources development would be fundamental to how sustainably Asia and Pacific States would be able to meet their new obligations under the GASeP, remarking that “within the APAC Region in particular, States will need to ensure that they have available, and can retain, sufficient numbers of trained, experienced and professional regulatory and operational aviation security professionals.”

“It will only be by virtue of sustained political will, especially at the highest levels of government and industry, that the Global Aviation Security Plan will succeed in its ambitious mandate,” she concluded.

The Bangkok conference was officially opened by His Excellency Prayut Chan-ocha, Prime Minster of Thailand. He expressed his country’s thanks to Dr. Liu for ICAO’s leadership in aviation safety and security, while commending the expanded role now being played by ICAO’s Bangkok Regional Office in Asia and Pacific aviation affairs.

In further discussions with His Excellency Prime Minister Chan-ocha and the Minister of Transport of Thailand, His Excellency Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Secretary General Liu commended the successful efforts made by Thailand under the leadership of the Prime Minister to resolve their Significant Safety Concerns (SSC).

Dr. Liu emphasized the critical importance of increased investment more generally in aviation infrastructure and human resource development, so that the Thai government could optimize its global aviation connections to the benefit of local citizens and producers. She also stressed in this regard that Thailand should begin integrating its aviation development objectives into its National Economic Development Masterplan.

Dr. Liu further highlighted the importance of developing world class training organizations in order to develop high quality next generation aviation professionals – not only for Thailand – but for the entire Asia and Pacific Region. ICAO is committed to providing the necessary support to Thailand on this initiative.

The Prime Minister of Thailand thanked the Secretary General and the ICAO Bangkok team for supporting the State as it resolved its Significant Safety Concern (SSC) earlier this year, and expressed the full commitment of Thailand in supporting and furthering the strategic objectives and policies of ICAO.

The ICAO Secretary General also held a number of bilateral meetings with senior government and aviation officials while in Bangkok, accompanied throughout by Minister Termpittayapaisith, Mr. Djibo Boubacar, Director of ICAO’s Air Transport Bureau, and Mr. Arun Mishra, ICAO’s Asia and Pacific Office Regional Director.

The Conference was attended by 150 delegates representing 23 Member States and 6 International Organizations.


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Evolving global strategies for safety and air navigation planning, development and implementation