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CLARA MOSCHINI

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Caribbean States affirm infrastructure and connectiviy commitments

As critical to sustainable air transport development

ICAO Council President Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu set the tone for the Second ICAO Air Transport Meeting for the Caribbean being held in Georgetown, Guyana, this week, stressing to the attending government and industry officials. Another key point of the ICAO Council President’s opening address was the continuous proliferation of taxes and levies on aviation operations which are having negative long-term impact on both operators’ bottom lines and the general sustainability of air services.

The need for all stakeholders to work together and plan for the development, expansion and modernization of aviation infrastructure to cope with the projected exponential growth in traffic volumes, was also emphasized by Aliu. President further encouraged member States to take pragmatic measures to ensure a transparent, stable and predictable investment climate to support aviation development.  In concluding, he commended the African Union and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for co-organizing a special session at the Guyana event on Promoting Air Links between Africa and the Diaspora.

The Guyana meeting organized in conjunction with the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), attracted over 250 participants from 27 States and many international organizations. During his audience with the Prime Minister, Aliu thanked the State for hosting the Second ICAO Air Transport Meeting for the Caribbean, and congratulated the State on the significant progress being achieved in compliance with ICAO SARPs and the efforts being made to improve and modernize local airport infrastructure. He also held a meeting with the Ministers of the CARICOM States and set the stage for follow up meetings and engagements to further enhance regional assistance and cooperation between CARICOM Member States themselves, as well as with ICAO.

The importance and role of the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Organization (CASSOS) was another critical area of important discussion, notably with respect for the need for States to support it as a viable solution to help them achieve compliance with ICAO SARPs. Another very important issue discussed was the strengthening of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCA), and the opportunity for it to have a stronger and better-defined role and responsibility, as well as addressing other such opportunities to ensure that States receive full benefits in terms of oversight cooperation.

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