16 July 2009 Hai Eng Chiang's Asia-Pacific Blog

Hai Eng Chiang Speaks at ICAO Asia Pacific Regional Office Anniversary Seminar

Earlier this week, the ICAO Asia Pacific Regional Office in Bangkok celebrated its 60th anniversary with an exhibition and seminar on the Socio-Economic Dynamics of Civil Aviation in the Asia Pacific Region. The President of the ICAO Council Mr Roberto Kobeh Gonzales attended the celebrations, as did many senior aviation officials from the region.
Many speakers at the seminar spoke about the positive economic impact of civil aviation in their countries and their optimism about what the future holds despite the severity of the current economic downturn. I have no doubt that they will be proven right as the region emerges stronger from the financial crisis to become the single largest aviation market in the world. The long-term challenge for civil aviation in the region is not one of stagnation but of growth and how this growth is to be managed in a safe and sustainable manner.

Although the celebrations took place in 2009, the 60th anniversary of the ICAO Asia Pacific Office was actually last year. Interestingly, 2008 was also the year the CANSO Asia-Pacific Office was established. So there is a 60 year gap between the two regional offices. It is therefore not surprising that CANSO sometimes does not readily ring a bell with civil aviation officials here.

Apart from IATA, CANSO was the other trade association invited to speak at the seminar. For me it was a good opportunity to impress upon the senior aviation officials gathered in Bangkok the important role played by ANSPs in air transport and what CANSO is about. The 2 billion passengers carried annually by airlines and processed by airports would not be possible without air traffic management. While ANSPs are not that visible to the public eye we are nonetheless a vital part of the air transport system. Hence my seminar presentation entitled Air Navigation Services – a critical part of the value chain. For air transport to continue as a key generator of economic growth and social interaction in the region, the ANSPs here have to rise to the challenge.