Pointing to the 2.4 million jobs and 157 billion dollars in GDP that aviation has created in the region, ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu welcomed the endorsement of the ICAO Middle East (MID) No Country Left Behind (NCLB) strategy by delegates at the Fourth Meeting of Directors General of Civil Aviation for the ICAO Middle East Region (DGCA-MID/4), in Muscat, Oman.
Their endorsement was formalized through their signing of the Muscat Declaration on the NCLB Strategy. This strategy defines approaches to drive the necessary political and financial momentum to achieve ICAO compliance through the satisfaction of regional infrastructure, human resource and regulatory needs.
On this point, DGCA-MID/4 delegates, representing 17 countries and 6 international and regional organizations, also reached agreement on the establishment of a Middle East Implementation Plan to Support Regional Safety and Air Navigation Initiatives (MIDIP) and an Aviation Security and Facilitation Regional Group (AVSEC/FAL/RG), and they endorsed new regional air navigation projects, including a Flight Procedure Programme (MID FPP). These developments were equally hailed by ICAO’s Secretary General.
“The ICAO Middle East (MID) region has been the fastest growing region for passenger and cargo traffic since 2011, and airlines here have posted double-digit passenger flight growth every year since 2012. In 2016, these carriers recorded 11.2% growth in revenue passenger-kilometres (RPKs), the highest among all ICAO regions,” Dr. Liu remarked in her address to the meeting.
“These types of results underscore the importance of the strong and active commitment which the States of this region have established to work together through ICAO, and especially with respect to the priorities for assistance and capacity-building established under our No Country Left Behind (NCLB) initiative.
“We have begun to focus greater attention on some specific challenges such as addressing operational risk under the State Safety Programme (SSP) and Safety management System (SMS) framework, the effectiveness of Regional Safety Oversight Organizations (RSOOs), and many other priority targets,” Dr. Liu explained.
“The MID Regional Aviation Safety Group (RASG-MID) has identified priorities which have helped all stakeholders to work towards the agreed safety targets contained in the MID Region Safety Strategy and Doha Declaration. The Region is also expected to establish the MENA RSOO, hosted by Saudi Arabia, in order to assist its member States in their SSP development and implementation, as well as to provide assistance to improve States’ safety oversight capabilities.”