Aviation News in Brief 8 Oct 2019

ICAO 40th Assembly; ACI World; CANSO, ATM & ICAO; Air Partner & Northcott Global Solutions; Boeing & Stanford; Subic Bay MRO; AirAsia versus Malaysia Airports


Airlines tout progress at 40th ICAO Assembly: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) commended the significant progress made by governments at the 40th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Environment was at the top of the agenda, and after some robust discussions between states, there were two critical outcomes:

  • The ICAO Council will report to the next Assembly on options for the adoption of a long-term aspirational goal for reducing carbon emissions from international aviation.
  • The Assembly passed a resolution that reaffirmed and strengthened its support for the successful implementation of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)—the world’s first global carbon offsetting scheme.

A decade ago the aviation industry agreed a long-term goal to cut aviation emissions to half the levels of 2005 by 2050 and is working on a pathway to achieve that goal. This assembly marks the first time that ICAO member states have agreed to consider a long-term goal for governments to reduce aviation emissions—a move that is strongly welcomed by airlines.

Alexandre de Juniac, director general of IATA.

“Sustainability is critical to earning aviation’s license to grow and spread its many economic and social benefits. Decarbonising the sector is a major challenge. Our focus is on cutting emissions to half 2005 levels by 2050 and we are making consistent progress.  Flying today is 17.3 percent more fuel efficient than a decade ago. From 2020—with the help of CORSIA—the sector’s growth will be carbon neutral. The strong support of governments for developing a UN backed long-term goal for reducing emissions would support us in those efforts and take us to the next step. National policy measures aligned to a global long-term emissions reduction goal will enable the industry to work even more effectively on crucial opportunities like commercialising sustainable aviation fuels and more efficient air traffic management,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

Meanwhile, the enhanced and strong support for CORSIA will shore-up the important step of capping aviation’s emissions from 2020. CORSIA will offset growth of international flight emissions from 2021, generating some US$40 billion of aviation-funded climate finance by 2035.

“We need to implement CORSIA successfully. It’s essential to our promise of carbon-neutral growth. This Assembly has sent a clear message that governments are committed to CORSIA and want to broaden participation from the voluntary stage. We look forward to seeing these commitments delivered as CORSIA begins—particularly by those states that are undermining CORSIA with additional taxes or charges,” said de Juniac.

The assembly also made decisions on many other critical issues and initiatives. Highlights include:

  • Passengers with disabilities: The assembly requested the ICAO Council to develop a work programme on accessibility for passengers with disabilities in order to reach for a disability-inclusive air transport system. This aligns with IATA’s call for governments to adopt a globally harmonised approach to enabling passengers with disabilities to travel safely and with dignity.
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones): The assembly directed the ICAO Council to urgently consider the establishment of a high-level body with the industry to regularly provide strategic advice to the Council concerning innovation. This includes issues like the integration of UAS into airspace. This aligns with IATA’s call for states to work together through ICAO and in cooperation with industry to develop provisions for these airspace new entrants.
  • Unruly Passengers: The assembly resolved to urge states to ratify Montreal Protocol of 2014 which modernises measures to deal with unruly passengers—a measure that IATA fully supports.
  • One ID: The assembly endorsed the IATA One ID project which highlights the benefits of biometric recognition to secure and facilitate the passenger clearance process. The need for robust data protection policies—built into the One ID project—was also stressed.
  • Harmful interference with global navigation satellite systems (GNSS): The assembly called for measures to manage and reduce the impact from harmful interference to GNSS on the safety and efficiency of aircraft and air traffic management operations. This aligns with IATA’s call for measures to reduce the vulnerability of GNSS.
  • Infrastructure Shortcomings: The assembly agreed that governments should implement the necessary infrastructure components to meet existing and future demand in alignment with the Global Air Navigation Plan. The Assembly also agreed that governments need to work with aviation stakeholders to identify and address infrastructure challenges in a timely manner. This aligns with IATA’s call for governments to address infrastructure shortcomings in areas of efficient services, capacity to meet demand, and industry engagement.

ACI World strongly supports declaration made at ICAO assembly: Airports Council International (ACI) World strongly supports a newly adopted Declaration on Aviation Security which affirms a global commitment to strengthening security implementation. The declaration was adopted during the 40th International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Triennial Assembly, in light of the continuing threat to civil aviation.

The declaration urges member states and stakeholders to take actions to enhance security and strengthen international cooperation to counter threats and affirms ICAO’s global leadership in safeguarding international civil aviation against acts that threaten the security of passengers, staff and the industry.

Airports Council International World’s director general, Angela Gittens.

“The security of aviation, along with safety, is unquestionably the top priority for ACI, airports, aviation authorities and communities, and the public,” ACI World director general Angela Gittens said. “The declaration will help the industry in meeting the challenges of growth, continuously evolving security threats, and the effect on passenger experience.”

The declaration promotes awareness of threats and risks to civil aviation through more information sharing between states and with stakeholders, and a coordinated approach to complementary areas of security, border management, facilitation and safety to deliver robust global aviation measures.

It also calls on aviation organisations and states to continue to develop and share new and innovative approaches to strengthen aviation security and encourages stakeholders to take practical steps to promote security culture and security awareness programmes, in partnership with all stakeholders within the aviation environment.

Strengthened international cooperation to counter threats to civil aviation and provide technical assistance to those countries in need, including funding, capacity building, access to technology, that is consistent with the No Country Left Behind initiative, was also part of the declaration.

“The declaration supports ICAO in its further cooperation and coordination with other UN agencies and other relevant international organisations towards strengthening global aviation security efforts,” Gittens said. “Through our APEX in Security programme, we support airports in strengthening security measures and building a strong airport security community.”

CANSO secures support for key ATM recommendations to states and ICAO: The Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) has secured support from states and ICAO for key recommendations it has made during the 40th ICAO assembly. CANSO has welcomed the ratification by states and ICAO of its four key recommendations to the 40th ICAO Assembly. CANSO has also received endorsement for joint submissions made with industry partners ACI, IATA, ICCAIA, Singapore and ATAG to the assembly. CANSO’s submissions were focussed on the critical areas of cybersecurity, capacity building, efficiency of operations and cross-industry collaboration. These covered the need for improving guidance and directions to states on securing cyber resilience in aviation; building capacity in ATM through adequate funding and flexible ANSP models; improving the efficiency of ATM through required navigation performance (RNP); and securing future services through adherence to key principles and mutual value.

CANSO’s joint submissions covered aviation’s contribution to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA); long-term sustainability goals; safe and efficient integration of drones and the need for standards and guidance to mitigate the risks of, and to improve response to unauthorised UAS operations; the future frequency spectrum; performance measurement and stakeholder engagement; alignment of global, regional and national efforts for ATM modernisation; noise management; artificial intelligence and digitalisation in aviation; and a collaborative approach to technological innovation.

Simon Hocquard, director general of CANSO.

CANSO’s director general, Simon Hocquard, said: “The endorsements we received offer a significant boost to the work that CANSO does to contribute to the development of aviation worldwide. They also send a very clear message – CANSO and its industry partners have the support of States and ICAO for a range of measures that will together work to improve the performance of aviation globally and deliver the safe, efficient and sustainable air transport that the flying public deserve. I look forward to working with my industry colleagues on this and building a strong future for airborne mobility.”

During the Assembly, the second edition of the Aviation Benefits Report was launched by the global air transport Industry High Level Group. It was endorsed by Dr. Fang Liu, Secretary General of ICAO, and co-signed by Simon Hocquard, Director General of CANSO; Angela Gittens, Director General of ACI; Alexandre de Juniac, Director General of IATA; and Eric Fanning, Chairman of ICCAIA. The IHLG highlights the work being done by the industry to secure the social and economic benefits of seamless connectivity.

ICAO AssemblyAir Partner’s Air Evacuation division partners with Northcott Global Solutions: Air Partner, the global aviation services group, said its Air Evacuation division has entered into a strategic partnership with Northcott Global Solutions (NGS), the international emergency response company. Under the terms of the partnership, Air Partner will become the preferred emergency air charter supplier to NGS’s customer base. The agreement will also enable Air Partner to leverage NGS’s capabilities in medical provision, ground and maritime security, armed protection, and traveller tracking and intelligence to its own existing customers. Air Partner’s Air Evacuation department provides 24-hour air evacuation planning and implementation services from anywhere in the world, giving customers priority access to the thousands of aircraft on the company’s books. This includes flying people out of dangerous situations, transporting support teams to the site of a disaster or the last-minute movement of critical equipment. For instance, the company regularly evacuates customers out of hurricane situations and, during the Arab Spring in 2011, the Air Evacuation team worked around the clock to evacuate more than 12,000 people from across the Middle East. NGS specialises in travel management, tracking, remote medical, security and logistics. It provides strategic and operational expertise to help minimise risk to personnel, assets and reputation, while offering business continuity and enablement solutions to increase the safety of people around the world. NGS was founded in 2010 and has worked with numerous blue-chip companies across a range of sectors, as well as the UK and US military, fire service, NGOs and government organisations.

ICAO AssemblyBoeing funds new lab at Stanford University’s Aero/Astro Department: Boeing is funding the creation of a laboratory facility dedicated to the research and testing of autonomous aerial vehicles within Stanford University’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The Boeing Flight & Autonomy Laboratory features a control room and maker area, the newest motion-capture cameras and sensor networks, and a public observation area. The lab is the latest support by Boeing in Stanford’s Aero/Astro department. In addition to the US$2.5 million contribution to fund the Boeing Flight & Autonomy Laboratory, Boeing is a founding member of the Stanford Aero/Astro Launch Fund for a new undergraduate programme in aeronautics and astronautics. The inaugural class in that program will graduate in 2020.

ICAO AssemblyNew MRO facility at Subic Bay: A new facility for aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services recently opened at the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA), transforming the former US Navy base into a 24/7 hub for business aviation in Asia Pacific. Located within an 18,000 square-metre hangar, Aviation Concepts Technical Services (ACTSI) is to become a premier parking and MRO service provider for business jets within the region after completing its phase one upgrade of its facilities, which can easily match OEM and client standards. The Subic Bay International Airport can accommodate large aircraft with the runway length of the former American airbase stands at 9,000 feet. With no slot restrictions, an average flight time to Subic is only one hour and 30 minutes from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, a mere three-hour flight from key Asian cities such as Singapore and Malaysia, and three hours & fifteen minutes from Indonesia and Thailand.

ICAO AssemblyAirAsia files claim against Malaysia Airports: AirAsia has filed a lawsuit against Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MASSB), a unit of Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) for about US$114 million, alleging the airline and its long-haul unit had suffered losses due to “MASSB’s negligence in the management, operation, maintenance and provision of airport services and facilities at KLIA2” airport. MASSB is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MAHB responsible for managing and operating Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and KLIA2. AirAsia and AirAsia X had earlier sought mediation by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) on their dispute with MASSB, in accordance with Sections 74 to 78 of the Mavcom Act. Despite this, Mavcom refused to mediate, and a subsequent attempt by AirAsia to seek a judicial review of Mavcom’s inaction was dismissed. AirAsia Berhad CEO Riad Asmat and AirAsia X Berhad CEO Benyamin Ismail said, “We did not want to do this but Malaysia Airports and Mavcom have forced our hand. Despite our best efforts to settle this matter amicably and through the right channels, we feel compelled to file this claim as we were left with no other recourse to protect our interests. This dispute all started when Malaysia Airports filed a civil suit against us over Passenger Service Charges (PSC) after rejecting our offer to go for mediation. We have always been open to resolving issues with our partners constructively, and we still contend that Malaysia Airports was heavy-handed in filing the suit.”

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Matthew Driskill is the Editor of Asian Aviation and is based in Cambodia. He has been an Asia-based journalist and content producer since 1990 for outlets including Reuters and the International Herald Tribune/New York Times and is a former president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong. He frequently appears on international broadcast outlets like CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC and has taught journalism at Hong Kong University and the American University of Paris. Driskill has received awards from the Associated Press for Investigative Reporting and Business Writing and in 1989 was named the John J. McCloy Fellow by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York where he earned his Master's Degree.


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