December 7 was International Civil Aviation Day. The Day was celebrated two weeks after Guyana hosted the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Air Transport Meeting, from November 21-23.
As we have previously noted, Guyana has made significant strides in our efforts for regional aviation security integration and collaboration, as the aviation sector plays a critical role in facilitating connectivity, trade, commerce, and tourism.
Compared to the rest of the world, Guyana’s aviation sector remains small; however, Minister within the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Annette Ferguson, who served as Vice Chairperson for ICAO’s Second High-Level Conference on Aviation Security, at the ICAO Headquarters in Montreal, Canada, from November 29 to 30, previously assured that in ‘setting the stage’ for a robust aviation sector, there were plans to ensure better compliance with the ICAO. Towards this end, an Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system and an Air Traffic Control simulator were procured in 2016. These facilities have enhanced the country’s capacity to manage our airspace, while aiding in our quest to attain the ICAO Category One compliance, a key requirement for establishing direct routes to more destinations.
In addition, Guyana’s partnership with the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS) has raised the nation’s ICAO compliance.
The purpose of International Civil Aviation Day is to help generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation to the social and economic development of States, and of the unique role of ICAO in helping States to cooperate and realise a truly global rapid transit network at the service of all mankind.
As the United Nations and world nations have now adopted Agenda 2030, and embarked on a new era in global sustainable development, the importance of aviation as an engine of global connectivity has never been more relevant to the Chicago Convention’s objectives to look to international flight as a fundamental enabler of global peace and prosperity.
Every five years, coinciding with ICAO anniversaries, the ICAO Council establishes a special anniversary theme for International Civil Aviation Day. Between these anniversary years, Council representatives select a single theme for the full four-year intervening period.
For 2015-2018, the Council has selected the following theme: “Working Together to Ensure No Country is Left Behind”.
The campaign highlights ICAO’s efforts to assist States in implementing ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). The main goal of this work is to help ensure that SARP implementation is better harmonised globally so that all States have access to the significant socio-economic benefits of safe and reliable air transport and can address safety, security and emissions-related issues.
In 1944, delegates from 54 nations gathered in the Grand Ballroom of the Stevens Hotel in Chicago at the invitation of the United States of America.
At this event, the participants concluded and signed the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known more popularly as the ‘Chicago Convention’, the defining international agreement which has since permitted the global civil aviation system to develop peacefully and in a manner benefiting all peoples and nations of the world.
International Civil Aviation Day was established in 1994 as part of ICAO’s 50th anniversary activities. In 1996, pursuant to an ICAO initiative and with the assistance of the Canadian Government, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/51/33, which officially recognised December 7 as International Civil Aviation Day in the UN system.
Further, the General Assembly urged Governments as well as relevant national, regional, international and intergovernmental organisations to take appropriate steps to observe International Civil Aviation Day.
The day is still celebrated around the world for the people of the aviation community like ATC (air traffic control); airport management; airlines and, of course, the aircraft themselves. This day also celebrates dangerous flights like QF32 and others that were in disaster but the pilots and crew managed to save the passengers and most of the plane, as well as the terror of the 9/11 event and the world’s worst plane to plane collision involving a KLM 747 and a Pan Am 747 at Schiphol airport, Amsterdam.
Countries are urged to celebrate for CASA, FAA, NTSB, ASTB and other aviation safety regulators and investigators around the world so that today’s aviation stays much safer than it was.