The inaugural Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh opened yesterday with a call for the aviation sector to establish a strong global voice to contribute to global wellbeing, sustainability, and prosperity.
“Aviation is typically a low margin business. When it works everybody wins but every year our industry suffers external crises and shocks. The crisis caused by the pandemic showed how divided we can be when we needed unity. Through this forum, we can establish a strong global voice to contribute to global wellbeing, sustainability, and prosperity. If we are successful, as I believe we can be, today will mark the start of a golden era of aviation,” said Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Transport and Logistical Services, opening the forum.
He said it was a moment to showcase that aviation is an “industry for transformation” as economies look to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The forum has brought together more than 2,000 delegates and aviation leaders from around the world to develop solutions around three central pillars: growth, innovation and sustainability.
Salvatore Sciacchitano, President of the Council, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), reflecting on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the aviation industry, called for governments and civil aviation authorities to deepen cooperation and develop resilience-enhancing solutions against future crises.
“Should a similar crisis occur, governments need to take a more coordinated action. It will require more concerted efforts to protect citizens in regards to border closures, subsidies and other economic measures, and health protection requirements,” Sciacchitano said.
The ICAO President said investing in civil aviation systems is a global public good.
“The future development of international civil aviation can greatly help to create friendship and understanding among the nations and the peoples of the world. And it can effectively promote that cooperation between nations and peoples upon which the peace of the world depends. International transport is a universal bridge between nations and continents, between cultures and traditions, between individuals and communities,” the ICAO President said.
In the spirit of international cooperation, at the opening of the Future Aviation Forum Saudi Arabia revealed a policy proposal to accelerate the recovery of international air travel to pre-pandemic levels.
Harmonising Air Travel policy
Abdulaziz Abdullah Al-Duailej, President of Saudi’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), presented the Harmonising Air Travel policy, which aims to ensure international aviation operators can easily access travel health requirements and respond to future public health crises in a unified manner, thereby improving their collective resilience.
“The Harmonising Air Travel policy will give our industry and passengers the ability to understand at a glance the openness of any given country during a future health emergency and to use that knowledge to make decisions. It is a policy that will save our industry billions of dollars in future crises and maintain confidence in our operations on which we all rely,” said Al-Duailej.
Holistic green policy sought
With sustainability among the three pillars of the Future Aviation Forum, delegates and aviation leaders also heard from Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, the Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia, who called for a “holistic” and “openminded” approach to developing solutions to green the sector.
“We are at a juncture where we have to look at everything and be mindful of and effective in meeting sustainability goals, which you cannot deliver with a cherry-picking approach. We have quite a few options (to achieve sustainability goals), and we must look at them all,” said Prince Abdulaziz,
Saudi Arabia’s transport and logistics sector, a major pillar of the Vision 2030 economic transformation plan, is undergoing rapid development. The Kingdom aims to generate SR356 billion (just under $100 billion) in investment into its aviation sector by 2030. The Kingdom has plans to launch a new international airline, and to undertake major upgrades to its aviation infrastructure. – TradeArabia News Service