Montreal and Seoul, 8 May 2019 – ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu stressed the value of open skies and the need for continuous pursuit of air transport liberalization during his keynote remarks today at the combined Fourth ICAO Air Transport Symposium and Sixth Conference on International Air Transport Cooperation, generously hosted in Seoul by the Republic of Korea. 

Recognizing that the Asia Pacific will remain the world’s fastest growing air transport market in terms of passenger and freight traffic for the foreseeable future, the President of ICAO’s Governing Council underscored that aviation today has become “an essential component of global society,” and that “the vast majority of countries which have embraced liberalization have enjoyed rapid traffic growth and its accompanying, and significant, socio-economic benefits.” 

“However a truly multilateral approach to international air transport liberalization, especially regarding the exchange of traffic rights on a multilateral basis, remains an outstanding ambition in the world today,” he emphasized. 

Dr. Aliu noted that ICAO’s goal is to understand and reconcile the political positions of each State as much as possible on matters concerning the liberalization of market access, air carrier ownership and control, and air cargo services, and that in line with the ICAO Long-Term Vision for International Air Transport Liberalization, the UN agency is also assisting States with the modernization and harmonization of their regulatory regimes on a multilateral level. 

“At the same time, efforts are also being made to help States optimize aviation’s socio-economic benefits through a robust, flexible and broad-based multilateral framework for air transport liberalization, with the overall objective of achieving enhanced air connectivity, expanded passenger and cargo market access, seamless travel with more competitive pricing and passenger friendly airports,” he noted. 

The Council President also drew his audience’s attention to ICAO’s high-level core principles on consumer protection, designed to help globally align government and industry policies and approaches in this area, noting that this is imperative as the sector increases its competitiveness. 

He also referenced the important value of ICAO’s strategic Global Plans to overall network safety, security, and efficiency, as well as the important contributions of the ICAO Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) Strategy in support of improved national identity management practices, visa and travel document facilitation, and ultimately the freer and more secure movement of people and goods all over the world. 

The President concluded by addressing some environmental points and recalling the historic CORSIA emissions offsetting approach adopted by the ICAO Assembly in 2016, in addition to the global standard for certification for aircraft CO2 and other emissions ICAO recently achieved. He expressed his special thanks to the government of the Republic of Korea for “signing-on as an early and voluntary participant in CORSIA, and for its support to our capacity building activities to ensure CORSIA’s effective take off in 2021.” 

While in Seoul, the President held bilateral meetings with Ms. Kim Hyun-mee, Korea’s Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT), as well as other high-level government officials in attendance. Dr. Aliu was accompanied on his mission by the Representative of Korea on the ICAO Council, Mr. Yun Je Lee, and by other Council Representatives and members of ICAO’s senior management.