UAE commemorates ICAO’s Convention on International Civil Aviation

DUBAI: The UAE, along with other ICAO Council Member States, took part in a special ceremony in Chicago, United States, on 8 December, commemorating the drafting and signing of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (also known as Chicago Convention) in 1944.

Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of GCAA, in a statement, said, “The signing of the Chicago Convention has provided the basis and paved the way for the standardisation of air navigation worldwide, hence commemorating this ceremony is vital. The UAE continues to work closely with ICAO as a Council Member State to ensure that aviation remains the safest form of transportation.” Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, GCAA Director General, said, “The UAE is proud of its engagement with ICAO over the years in setting high international standards and practices to ensure a safe, secure and sustainable civil air transportation system. The core vision behind the Chicago Convention is as relevant today as it was 70 years ago. It is important to the UAE to pay tribute to the Chicago Convention’s significant contributions to the civil aviation industry in terms of international cooperation, growth and prosperity, and thus global peace.” The event was held by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and was attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, several senior U.S. and international officials, and Heads of many major international aviation organisations.

The UAE was represented by Captain Aysha Al Hameli, Permanent UAE Representative to ICAO.

On this occasion, Captain Al Hameli commented, “The signing of the Chicago Convention and the subsequent establishment of ICAO has been a turning point in mankind’s history. This is the oldest multilateral international agreement that was signed even before the establishment of the United Nations. It is thanks to our predecessors in the aviation field who perceived 70 years ago the vital role that aviation will play, and sat down together in the same room where this ceremony is held, uniting many nations during hard times and drafting this successful international instrument that allowed people to fly the world. The impact of aviation on the global economy and our daily lives is very well known and felt, and without the Chicago Convention and its Annexes, the safe, secure and sustainable growth of international aviation would not have been possible.” Laila Ali bin Hareb Al Muhairi, Assistant Director General, Strategy and International Affairs, said, “In our quest, we are committed to continue to be committed to the continued relevance and spirit of the Chicago Convention as well as ICAO in the delivery of its mission. The extraordinary growth achieved by the UAE aviation sector cannot be possible without ICAO’s high quality standards, practices and experts. GCAA continues its work out of respect for ICAO’s global objectives while aiming at always be in the forefront of innovation and progressing in efficiency and environmental sustainability.” Ismaeil Mohammed Al Blooshi, Assistant Director General, Safety Affairs, said, “The birth of the Chicago Convention permitted the international civil aviation system to establish objectives to ensure aviation safety to govern the way aircrafts are flown, maintained and kept safely apart fro one another. UAE is one of 191 countries benefitting from the over 10,000 international standards and recommended practices by ICAO. UAE manages more than 2100 movements in its airspace every day. The global principles deriving from the Chicago Convention and developed throughout the years thereafter are essential to our capacity competence and excellent safety records.

Hamad Salem Al Muhairi, Assistant Director General, Security Affairs, said, “With growth and high demand come challenges. Laying the foundation 70 years ago for worldwide cooperation and international standards have generated valuable results. By having global standards in place, we can together focus towards understanding new technology and fostering modernisation, as well as ensuring that security remains imperative.” Ismaeil Mohamed Abdel Wahed, Assistant Director General, Air Accident Investigation, said, “The Chicago Convention and ICAO are part of the same success story of global cooperation. GCAA is commemorating its establishment and acknowledges the impact the convention has had on UAE’s robust and coherent safety oversight system, as well as the benefits it has provided by always seeking to enshrine the priorities of safety.” The ceremony included an Extraordinary Session of ICAO’s permanent Council of 36 Member States, which debated and adopted a Resolution on the contributions and relevance of the Chicago Convention to global peace and prosperity since its adoption 70 years ago.

Following the Extraordinary Session of the Council, an international aviation law Symposium on the Convention’s past, present and future was organised by DePaul University, and included many distinguished speakers and pioneers in the field of international civil aviation discussing the relevance and impact of the Chicago Convention.

Since 1972, the UAE has been a proud ICAO member State. It was first elected for the ICAO Council back in 2007. During the re-elections of the 38th session of ICAO’s General Assembly, held in October 2013, the UAE got 158 from 176 votes; which is the highest number of votes obtained by a country in Category III. Since then the UAE has been playing a leading role at ICAO and supporting the work of the organisation for the betterment of International Civil Aviation.