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ACI World director general, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, reflects on the key role ICAO’s 41st Assembly will play in driving improvements in the aviation sector.

The aviation industry is coming out of the pandemic with a shared set of challenges and with an understanding that we must support each other to fully recover and prosper. All aviation stakeholders have a role to play in building a sustainable future for aviation for the benefit of travellers and communities worldwide.

The ‘Design and Build’ theme of this issue lends itself well to sharing ACI World’s work, on behalf of its member airports, at the upcoming 41st International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly, taking place in Montréal this autumn.

This event is held every three years and establishes the worldwide policy of the Organization for the upcoming triennium. It attracts more than 2,000 delegates, including ministers, directors general of civil aviation, and senior policy and decision makers.

The Assembly plays a critical role in driving improvements in the aviation sector and, more than ever, we are supporting ICAO with objectives to align international aviation with global standards.

ACI has been working diligently to prepare Working Papers to present at the Assembly with a focus on the passenger, our advocacy positions, and engagement strategy for the improvement of the aviation ecosystem – all of this aligned with our members’ needs at this crucial junction in time and under the theme: #All4one Aviation Ecosystem.

In a formal sense, we submit Working Papers on the major priorities. We also leverage the opportunity to build ACI’s reputation as the voice of the world’s airports with governments and other industry stakeholders.

If Working Papers are accepted by consensus, they direct the outcomes of ICAO for the next triennium. Assembly outcomes are then provided to the other bodies of ICAO and to its Member States (governments) in order to guide their continuing and future work –the stakes are high to say the least.

Some of our key advocacy will focus on aviation’s workforce, its long-term climate goal, building an inclusive air travel system, and the economics of airports.

While diverse in topic, each Working Paper, however, is aimed at building one sustainable aviation ecosystem for today and tomorrow’s passengers. As many know, aviation plays a critical role in the sustainable development of communities and the connectivity of people, which remains of utmost importance for the economic, social, and territorial cohesion of governments and their populations.

To preserve this connectivity and its important role within the economic fibre of nations and communities, the aviation industry must come together and rethink the existing approaches that are leveraged to recruit, motivate, train, upskill and retain its workforce.

Not only is this relevant for short-term labour shortages but also to the long-term vision of aviation where we will need to build an attractive, diverse, and inclusive sector for the next generations of aviation professionals.

This also includes ramping up our climate change response action. ACI member airports at a global level are committed to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

However, while over 130 airports have anticipated reaching their target by 2030 and others by 2040, more support is needed from governments and many other stakeholders for the planning and implementation of airports’ decarbonisation strategies and action plans.

Building a more inclusive, equitable, and accessible air transport system is part of building a more attractive sector for all airport users – including travellers and workers with disabilities. Not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it makes good business sense.

An efficient, consistent regulatory framework on a global scale is key to achieving this, as it ensures that persons with disabilities’ fundamental rights are respected.

Many governments have a strong legal framework in place to reduce barriers and increase opportunities for people with disabilities and ensure their full participation in society – in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by 184 countries.

And of course, having up-to-date policies on airport charges will support the pathway to meeting air travel demand and ensuring aviation remains a prominent source of economic and social wellbeing for countless communities.

Airport charges policies need to evolve in favour of passengers (consumers) who are at the centre of the aviation ecosystem. Serving the travelling public through policy tools that incentivise much needed capital investments, that enhance connectivity, and that ensure existing infrastructure is used efficiently is a key consideration for public policy.

We invite all readers to keep a close watch of our #All4one Aviation Ecosystem activities leading up to and throughout the 41st ICAO Assembly. You can visit our ACI World at ICAO’s 41st Assembly web page (aci.aero/all4one) for more information. We look forward to reporting on the outcomes of our advocacy in the last quarter of 2022.

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