The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) 40th
Triennial Assembly concluded on Friday afternoon, 4 October, after two
hectic weeks. I’m pleased to report on the progress ACI has made in
representing our members’ interests worldwide as we work towards a safe,
secure, customer centric, economically and environmentally sustainable future
for airports and aviation at large.
Every three years
ICAO brings together over 2,000 delegates from up to 193 countries and
international observer organizations to review the work of the past triennium
and to set the policy agenda for the next. It elects a new 36-member Council, the
permanent governing body of ICAO, and agrees its budget for the coming three
The 2019 Assembly
was held at its headquarters in Montreal, Canada from the 24 September to 4
October. This was an important period for engagement with ICAO as ACI worked
directly with the ICAO Secretariat and the national regulators attending the
Assembly to promote key areas.
with the ACI World Standing Committees and in coordination with the Regional
offices ACI submitted several Working Papers (WP) and achieved concrete results
- Taxation. Responding to the ACI WP, the Assembly re-affirmed the
fundamental difference between user charges and taxes; acknowledged the risks
associated with poorly designed and/or excessive taxation; and, recognized the
importance of running a cost-benefit analysis before introducing any form of
- Security. ACI had highlighted innovations such as Smart
Security, and the Assembly expressed broad support for fostering innovation
in aviation security and called on Member States to coordinate with industry
partners to facilitate operational trials of new technologies and innovative
techniques. It also adopted an updated Declaration on Aviation Security, for
which ACI was invited to be part of the small drafting group.
- Cybersecurity. With ACI support, the Assembly adopted a Resolution on
cybersecurity, to address the issues through a horizontal, cross-cutting and
functional approach; reaffirming the importance and urgency of protecting civil
aviation’s critical infrastructure systems and data against cyber threats. The
Resolution also sought to obtain global commitment to action by ICAO, its Member
States and industry stakeholders, with a view to collaboratively and
systematically addressing cybersecurity in civil aviation and mitigating the
associated threats and risks.
ACI also welcomed a new Resolution
which called upon Member States to: implement technological solutions aimed at
enhancing security and facilitation of border controls while improving
clearance procedures, such as the joint use of Automated Border Control gates
and the ICAO Public Key Directory when checking e-Passports.
UAS Operations (Joint paper
with CANSO, IATA, IFATCA and IFALPA). The industry is ready to work with ICAO
in drafting the required international guidance material. This work would build
upon existing Standards and guidance, and the work of ICAO technical bodies, as
well as evolving State guidance and regulations. The outcome would include
harmonized processes for initiating detection of, and counter measures against,
unauthorized UAS that may interfere with international aviation.
of Noise. Responding to a
joint ACI-CANSO WP, the Assembly agreed on the relevance of Community
Engagement in the Balanced Approach, but concluded that it was not necessary to
formally recognize it as an element of the Balanced Approach. However, it referred
to proposed new text of the revised Assembly Resolution which highlights
Community Engagement; this is a very satisfactory outcome for ACI.
- Supersonic Aircraft were discussed with the US accepting that further work should be taken forward in the ICAO Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection. Several States explicitly supported the ACI perspective that the introduction of supersonics should not have an impact on community noise exposure and that they should be certified to standards comparable to the best performing sub-sonic aircraft.
It was evident from the recurring themes from the Assembly
itself, that change is coming faster than ever before. It was also evident that
the member States of ICAO see industry as an important partner and that there
is an appetite for engagement that goes beyond that seen hitherto. As we seek
to embrace innovation and change, ACI’s pledge is that we will draw on
practical experience from experts around the world to help develop pragmatic
We offer our support and engagement at every step of the
way, so that these regulatory frameworks will reflect the needs of the
I also congratulate both the re-elected and the
newly-elected ICAO Council members and look forward to providing them with briefings
on the airport industry and specific topics pertinent to the sector. Only by
getting to know each other better can we work together towards our common goals.