International Civil Aviation Day is being observed and celebrated around the world on this 7th Day of December 2018 under the theme “Working together to ensure no Country is left behind”. On December 7, 1944, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, was created to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. This agency continues to set the standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, amongst other priorities. One of its main goals is to reinforce the importance of international civil aviation towards the socioeconomic development of member-States.
The Cooperative Republic of Guyana became a member to the ICAO Chicago Convention of 1944, fifty-one years ago, on February 3, 1967, demonstrating our commitment towards the development of civil aviation in Guyana. Through technical assistance from ICAO, Guyana has made significant achievements in promoting safety, security and efficiency of air travel through guidance and harmonization of the ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) which are applied to aviation operations worldwide.
Since its establishment, ICAO has signed numerous international agreements, and cooperated with many regional bodies to further solidify their global influence. From drafting conventions and protocols, to developing air services agreements, air laws, regulations and other provisions, ICAO has advocated civil aviation’s development on both the international and domestic fronts.
The efforts of ICAO have contributed to making air travel the safest mode of transportation, with continuous growth of airline traffic that are expanding their global reach. ICAO has adopted comprehensive resolutions to foster aviation environmental protection such as the Global Market-Based Measure (GMBM) for the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), and continues to promote new safety initiatives such as State Safety Programmes and Safety Management Systems. No doubt, ICAO will continue to serve as the key forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 191 Member States.
The Government of Guyana has recognized the importance of aviation and its contribution to the transport of goods, services and people; and largely, its impact on economic growth and development in Guyana. Most importantly however, safety within the aviation sector has always been a critical area of interest to the Government. As with all things, the landscape of aviation is evolving; and in this process of change, the aviation sector is even more dynamic, thus presenting new opportunities and, likewise many challenges.
The aviation sector is becoming increasingly attractive for investment opportunities with significant increases in new and potential market entrants which are demanding premium facilities and other complementary services. Hence, to make these facilities available Government has committed to developing and expanding infrastructure such as the Cheddi Jagan International Airport to cater to increased flights, larger aircraft, and improved safety for departures, and landings and thereby opening opportunities to become a regional hub for air transport. Efforts to foster sustainable connectivity in air transport are also demonstrated through our endorsement of several bi-lateral and multi-lateral air services agreements with countries in North America, Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa, which will serve as the platform for the creation of new routes and destinations, expansion of international travel and fostering growth in the tourism sector. Together, these arrangements will translate into access to wider markets and increase in import and export of goods and services to and from Guyana.
Civil aviation continues to play a crucial role in support of mining operations, mineral exploration, mapping via aerial surveying; and enables the export of our locally produced goods and agricultural commodities, while facilitating social and cultural exchanges, and technology transfer. The aviation sector also continues to complement the improvements made to national healthcare services, search and rescue operations, and emergency response especially to and from our hinterland locations. The aviation sector will also continue to offer opportunities for employment, skills development, areas of specialization and enhancement for young Guyanese aspiring to become professionals in varying fields as pilots, air traffic controllers, technicians and engineers.
The Government has already laid the foundation on which cooperation is built. Guyana launched the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) system where aircraft positions are determined via satellite in real-time by air traffic control. This ADS-B system will facilitate aircraft separation with improved precision and timing; this will not just enhance air safety but will result in reducing distance and flight time, reducing carbon emission, and aid in locating and identifying aircraft in times of distress or search and rescue operations.
Guyana’s position in the global arena is a testimony to the theme “working together to ensure no country is left behind” initiative. ICAO recognizes Guyana as a regional leader in the aviation sector, and displayed confidence in our ability to host the recent Air Transport Meeting. We will continue to collaborate with our local and regional stakeholders and other member-States and international bodies to ensure the sustainable development of Guyana’s aviation sector.
Again, on this globally celebrated occasion, Guyana joins with the rest of the world in observing and applauding the International Civil Aviation Organization for a job well done thus far.
Happy ICAO Day and may God continue to bless us all.