The wider trend of liberalization is likely to provide a further boost to the Asia Pacific region’s expanding tourism industry, trade connections, and air connectivity. Based on ICAO’s long-term traffic forecasts, APAC is expected to be the fastest-growing region in terms of passenger traffic, at an annual rate of 6.4 per cent up to 2032. For freight traffic, the region is projected to grow 5.1 per cent annually for the same period, the second-highest growth rate among all regions. These positive growth figures, also present some serious challenges for many of the region’s governments to manage the rising demand including having to look into new technologies and innovative solutions to improve capacity and efficiency, and ensure that safety continues to be upheld.
It is also critical that adequate resources are dedicated to ensuring that our safety regulatory systems keep pace and remain competent, effective and relevant. We must also not forget the need for adequate recruitment and training of the necessary skilled manpower. ICAO has been making the point for several years now that steadily increasing flight and passenger volumes will generate significant risks, and that air transport growth must be effectively managed to mitigate those risks. In this context, each State maintains the primary responsibility for its own aviation development.
We are reminded of the important role of having national development plans and strategies which meaningfully incorporate aviation development priorities, whether for physical infrastructure, system modernization, safety management or human resources development. National priorities must be aligned with the targets and timelines presented in our ICAO Global Plans for Aviation Safety (GASP), Security (GASeP), and Air Navigation Capacity and Efficiency (GANP).
The Asia Pacific region has demonstrated its commitment to implement the goals and targets of ICAO GASP and GANP through the Beijing Declaration, at the First Asia/Pacific Ministerial Conference on Civil Aviation in January 2018. The 56th DGCA APAC Conference held in Kathmandu, Nepal from 19-23 August 2019 represented an opportunity to review the current status of implementation of the ministerial commitments, and allowed us to discuss how we can better support States to prioritize and accelerate implementation action.
2019 is ICAO’s 75th Anniversary year, an occasion to appreciate the accomplished history of our cooperation in the international civil aviation sector. In APAC, we have successfully hoisted a 75th Anniversary ICAO Flag on Mount Everest, our unique way to mark the event signifying that while it is time to celebrate, it is also a time to prepare for new challenges. Member States are encouraged to celebrate this significant milestone in the history of ICAO by organizing appropriate events and programs befitting this milestone.
At ICAO’s 40th Assembly held in Montreal, a number of pressing regional challenges which are closely related to the APAC Region’s air navigation capacity and efficiency were discussed. Lastly, the APAC Regional Office expresses its gratitude to all Member States for participating and contributing to A40 and the various regional events and meetings, with a special thanks to host States of some of the events conducted outside Bangkok.