MONTREAL - ICAO’s Africa-Middle East Air Transport Symposium concluded with renewed regional commitments on addressing pandemic recovery efforts, the harmonization of regional air transport regulatory frameworks, cross-border investments in airlines, the impact of levies and charges on air transport sustainability, and financing approaches for the modernization of aviation infrastructure.
Focused around the theme of Promoting and harnessing the benefits of liberalization, the virtual event brought together high-level policy makers, air transport regulators, industry representatives, aviation professionals, and other stakeholders to drive important progress on regional air transport coordination and recovery.
In his opening remarks to the event, ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar pledged the UN agency’s continuing strong support for regional aviation recovery efforts, and to the long-term objectives for increased Africa and Middle East air connectivity.
He also emphasized how current sectoral recovery priorities and opportunities were guiding important transformations, both for aviation and for ICAO itself.
A key objective of the Symposium was to examine and re-evaluate current air transport policies and regulatory frameworks in the context of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, and it was also importantly guided by the Resolutions of the Third Africa-Arab Summit.
The Symposium also highlighted the importance of the foundation for regional cooperation, liberalization, and prosperity which have been established by the Yamoussoukro, Lomé, Antananarivo, and Muscat Declarations.
After appreciating how aviation pre-pandemic had generated over ten million jobs in the AFI and MID Regions, and close to $700 billion in combined GDP, Mr. Salazar recalled that full air transport recovery for the respective regions would help to assure the successful implementation of the African Continental Free trade area, Single African Air Transport Market, the freedom of mobility goals of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and to reopening economically critical tourism markets for affected oceanic and landlocked countries.
The ICAO Secretary General also underscored the importance of ICAO’s upcoming High-level Conference on COVID-19 this October, as well as its 41st Assembly next year, to maintaining global momentum on reconnecting the world.