The Pacific Aviation Ministers launched the ground-breaking 10-year Pacific Regional Aviation Strategy at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 41st Assembly in Montreal.
The Pacific Regional Aviation Strategy 2022-2032 provides for a regional vision for a harmonised, collaborative, and connected Pacific aviation system that supports safe, secure, and sustainable aviation in all Pacific Island States.
On behalf of 18 Pacific Island States, the strategy was officially launched by the Papua New Guinea Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation, the Honourable Walter D. Schnaubelt, MP at a special ceremony with the ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar at ICAO’s triannual meeting.
The Pacific Island States represented by the strategy includes Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
“This important aviation strategy for the Pacific is designed to present a clear pathway for achieving a strengthened pacific aviation system and community going into the future,” said the Honourable Walter D. Schnaubelt at the strategy’s Montréal launch at the ICAO 41st Assembly.
The new Pacific strategy signals the regions’ strong commitment to improving aviation systems and achieving international safety and security compliance via collaboration, coordination, and harmonisation.
The ten-year strategy is a ‘living document’ and aligns with the overarching 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, which acknowledges that aviation connectivity is an essential driver of economic growth, jobs, trade, and mobility for Pacific Island States.
The critical challenges facing aviation globally are recognised in the strategy, which seeks to deliver a safe, secure air transport system, protect the environment, and support sustainable economic development of Pacific States.
Specifically, the strategy tackles the priorities of regional cooperation and engagement, aviation capability development, sustainable economic development, pandemic recovery and resilience, environmental protection, aviation safety and security, and harmonised regulatory systems.
“As a small region, the Pacific faces a range of development challenges, is vulnerable to climate change and disasters and various limitation in terms of capacity and equipment constraints,” said the Honourable Schnaubelt.
These development challenges and constraints have had a severe impact on the Pacific region in terms of ICAO Effective Implementation (EI) scores as outlined in ICAO’s Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) aviation needs analysis.
The ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar described the new strategy as “a major turning point” for the Pacific region at the special launch ICAO 41st Assembly ceremony and emphasised ICAO’s ongoing commitment and active engagement with Pacific Island States for sustainable civil aviation growth in the Pacific.
“I wish to emphasize ICAO’s unwavering commitment towards the Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) to facilitate safe, secure, efficient and sustainable international aviation, and invite Member States to continue their support, so that we can advance the achievement of the ICAO Strategic Objectives in the Pacific, and worldwide,” said Secretary General Salazar.
As the RAMM Secretariat, the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) worked with key partners to develop the strategy with the guidance of Pacific States with funding from the World Bank.
The strategy was in-principally endorsed by Pacific Aviation Ministers at the second Regional Aviation Ministers Meeting (RAMM2) in June 2022.
PASO will develop an implementation plan for the initial phase of the strategy with direction from the region’s aviation officials for presentation at the RAMM3 in 2023.