Aviation is essential to the economic and social development of cities, countries and regions everywhere, but governments can only optimise its benefits by addressing the sector’s critical infrastructure and resource needs in their national development strategies.
That is the key message in a new report, Aviation Benefits, jointly produced by all parts of the aviation industry. The report is launched just before World Tourism Day on 27 September 2017, underscoring the direct link between the level of aviation connectivity in a given city or territory and the level of tourism.
“Well over a billion tourists are crossing international borders each year,” remarked ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu, “and over half of these are travelling by air to their destinations – in fact over 80% in many island States. Aircraft also transport some 35% of world trade by value, and the lowering costs and expanding routes across our network mean that the economic benefits from tourism and other aviation connectivity impacts will only increase in the years ahead. This trend is further reinforced by the dramatic forecasts we’re seeing for future air traffic growth.”
Aviation Benefits, aimed mainly at government leaders and national planners, contains the steps to be taken to maximise air transport’s socio-economic influence. It presents overviews of the related investment and partnership priorities to be pursued by States, and regional summaries showing how aviation improves prosperity all over the world.
Effective air traffic management (ATM) has a vital role to play in ensuring connectivity, which boosts GDP growth by enabling access to markets and tourism. With air traffic forecast to increase five percent each year, airspace capacity needs to grow to avoid congestion and delays. States therefore need to invest in and modernise ATM infrastructure if they are get the full benefits of aviation.
A key way of achieving this is for States to implement the ICAO Aviation System Block Upgrades. These set the course for operational improvements and aviation technology investments over 20 years and allow States to modernise at their own pace. They help States identify priorities; and advise on cost-effective solutions. For example, less developed States can make the jump straight to the latest technology; using satellite-based and digital systems rather than investing in ground-based systems and expensive infrastructure. The ASBUs will enable future aviation systems worldwide to efficiently manage demand and enhance safety, capacity, and environmental stewardship.
Jeff Poole, Director General of CANSO – the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation – said, “Rising demand without increases in capacity adversely impacts safety and efficiency. We need States to invest in modern, efficient infrastructure to cater for growth and reap the benefits of aviation. There is no point in having a modern, efficient airport and a modern, efficient airline without also modernising ATM to improve capacity and overall performance. The Aviation System Block Upgrades give States a clear road map to achieve the necessary infrastructure improvements. They will improve aviation safety, enhance efficiency for airlines and increase connectivity to boost GDP. But the starting point is for government decision makers to understand and proactively facilitate the clear and proven benefits of aviation connectivity. Aviation Benefits provides the evidence and the facts they need.”