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ICAO Assembly to Consider Topics That Impact Business Aviation

The 193 member states of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will meet for the organization’s 41st Assembly from Sept. 27 through Oct. 14 to consider and adopt new policies affecting the rules of the global air transport system and set priorities for the work cycle of the next three years.

Why is this important to business aviation? These international standards affect all sectors of civil aviation, not just commercial airline operations.

ICAO has established two main themes for this year’s assembly: resilience and innovation.

As we continue to emerge from a global pandemic that nearly shut down international air transport, the ICAO Assembly will discuss how to deal with emerging risks to aviation, including public-health crisis preparedness and cybersecurity. Building a resilient international aviation system is critical to withstanding potential future risks, enabling the industry to continue its missions of economic and social development and connectivity.

The Assembly will also consider both the inward and outward aspects of innovation.

The inward question revolves around how ICAO can improve its processes to produce more efficient relevant guidance and appropriate standards and recommended practices for the worldwide system, including increased use of industry knowledge and experience.

The outward aspect of innovation involves recognizing the development of new entrants into the air transport system (e.g., advanced air mobility). Specifically, the Assembly will consider ICAO’s role in helping civil aviation authorities meet the challenge of regulating these new entrants and facilitating their integration into the air transport system.

In addition to these important themes, another topic that will take center stage during the Assembly is whether to agree on a long-term aspirational goal of net-zero carbon emissions from international aviation by 2050.

The business aviation sector, among others, has outlined the path to meet this ambitious goal, which involves the use of sustainable aviation fuel and other new technologies, operational improvements, infrastructure modernization and carbon offsets. Achieving this goal will require action and support from a range of stakeholders, including governments. Learn more about business aviation and sustainability.

There are many countries that support this aspirational environmental goal, but there are a number of states that vocally oppose it. This latter group believes that the responsibilities of countries with newer or emerging air transport capabilities should be treated differently than those with more mature systems. However, the Chicago Convention applies equally to all signatories, creating, in principle, a harmonized global air transport system.

The debate over this long-term goal will revolve around how to differentiate between countries and will be the most challenging topic on which to reach consensus.

At past ICAO Assemblies in which climate-related debates took place, the industry-proposed solution formed the basis for consensus approval. The industry’s proposed path to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 provides the way forward for this Assembly, where it will be critical that the aviation community and governments both agree on an ambitious, yet feasible, solution.

The International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) will represent the business aviation community throughout the proceedings and will provide updates to its member associations, including NBAA.

Industry Challenge

Business aviation stakeholders need to ensure their interests are represented during ICAO’s 41st Assembly, when civil aviation’s worldwide governing body meets Sept. 27-Oct. 14 to consider policy changes that could affect business aviation.

NBAA Response

The International Business Aviation Council will represent the business aviation community during the ICAO Assembly and will provide updates to its member associations, including NBAA.

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