During the first Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Civil Aviation held on January 31 and February 1, 32 ICAO member states in the APAC region discussed and adopted the Beijing Declaration (hereinafter referred to as the Declaration). The Declaration reflects the common concerns, common positions and common vision of all APAC member states in terms of aviation safety, air navigation services, accident investigation and human resources. It is not only a consensus on promoting the development of the aviation industry in the Asia Pacific region, but will also be a multilateral policy guideline for promoting the development of Asia Pacific civil aviation in the future. In addition, it will be of great significance in strengthening the cooperation among the countries in the field of civil aviation, further enhancing the level of aviation safety in the Asia Pacific region, promoting the healthy, sustained and high-quality development of civil aviation in the region, and letting aviation play its important role in building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
The Declaration underlined the importance of air transportation world-wide for social and economic development. Currently, the Asia Pacific Region has become the world’s largest aviation market in terms of available seat-kilometers and generates the world’s second largest share of international revenue passenger-kilometers, and will continue to grow with challenges in air traffic capacity, efficiency and safety. Considering the Asia Pacific region is diverse, there is a compelling need for stronger regional cooperation, partnerships and engagement to continuously improve aviation safety and enhance safety and efficiency of air navigation services to cater for the projected air traffic growth in the region. To implement the ICAO “No Country Left Behind (NCLB)” initiative, ICAO member states in the APAC region agreed on commitments and actions on aviation safety, air navigation services, accident investigation and human resources, based on the work already under way.
It’s highlighted in the Declaration that, with respect to aviation safety, ICAO member states in the APAC region shall commit to: progressively enhance safety oversight capability to achieve a USOAP EI score higher or equal to the global average by 2022; implement an effective State Safety Program (SSP) by 2025; endeavor not to have any Significant Safety Concerns (SSCs) under the USOAP Continuous Monitoring Approach (CMA), and to resolve any future SSCs within the time frame agreed with ICAO; certify all aerodromes used for international operations by 2020; use data driven methodologies to identify high risk categories of occurrences, and implement collaborative solutions to reduce accident rates and fatalities in the region; and include aviation safety in national planning frameworks. In the meantime, they shall promote regional government and industry collaboration for sharing of best practices in safety management through the Regional Aviation Safety Group (RASG).
It’s underscored in the Declaration that, with respect to air navigation services, ICAO member states in the APAC region shall commit to implementation by 2022 of the Asia Pacific Seamless Air Traffic Management (ATM) Plan to enhance ATM capacity and harmonization in the Region, including a focus on, among others, Performance Based Navigation (PBN) implementation, an enhanced level of civil/military cooperation, and Air Traffic Flow Management/Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) implementation for high flow density airports. Also, they shall promote sharing of best practices in the provision of ANS through regional cooperation and enhanced coordination.
It’s emphasized in the Declaration that, with respect to accident investigation, ICAO member states in the APAC region shall, in accordance with the Chicago Convention, commit to either establish an accident investigation authority that is independent from state aviation authorities and other entities that could interfere with the conduct or objectivity of an investigation or where appropriate develop a bilateral, sub-regional or regional partnership to support the establishment of accident investigation capabilities to serve the region, sub-region or state. With respect to human resource development, the Declaration pointed out that ICAO member states in the APAC region shall, in line with the ICAO initiative on “Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP)”, accord priority to human capital development to provide sufficient qualified and competent aviation professionals to support the region’s growing needs, including where appropriate: establish access to quality training; and encourage sharing of resources bilaterally and/or multi-laterally as well as with industry partners. In addition, ICAO member states in the APAC region shall promote the attraction of new talent and the retention of trained, qualified and experienced personnel among state aviation organizations.
In recent years, air transport has been playing an increasingly important role in promoting global economic development. According to statistics, the global air transport industry supports almost 62.7 million jobs worldwide and contributes US$ 2.7 trillion to Global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), equivalent to 3.5% of global GDP and US$ 664.4 billion aviation direct economic impact.