Pacific Aviation Safety Office Council of Directors welcomes ICAO Secretary General and ICAO Asia Pacific Regional Director
PORT VILA: Stronger dialogue and closer working relationships between the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to support Pacific aviation safety and security was emphasised at the PASO Council of Directors’ recent meeting.
The PASO Council Meeting on Wednesday, 24 November 2021 was attended virtually by representatives from nine signatories of the Pacific Islands Civil Aviation Safety and Security Treaty (PICASST) and three Associate Members, together with ICAO and the World Bank.
PASO Council representation included: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
In a landmark for PASO, the ICAO Secretary General, Mr Juan Carlos Salazar, and the ICAO Asia Pacific Regional Director, Mr Tao Ma, addressed the PASO Council virtually.
The ICAO Secretary General acknowledged the unique challenges and circumstances facing PASO Member States compliance with ICAO’s aviation safety, security and sustainability requirements and highlighted ICAO’s key initiatives to support them and PASO.
The ICAO Secretary General, Mr Salazar said:
“ICAO is very much aware of what the pandemic’s disruption to air connectivity has meant for Pacific States, and to your many citizens and communities who depend so strongly on air travel and tourism for their basic livelihoods.”
He pledged that “ICAO will assure more responsive and effective teamwork with States, industry, and international partnering organizations going forward, and will lead the global air transport community in reuniting people, societies, and economies again.”
The ICAO Secretary General expressed appreciation to the Government of Vanuatu for generously hosting and resourcing PASO’s Port Vila headquarters since inception in 2007, and acknowledged the Governments of Australia and New Zealand for directly supporting PASO financially to enable technical assistance for Pacific States.
The PASO Council Chairperson, Mr Magele Hoe J. Viali welcomed and thanked the Secretary General for ICAO’s continued support and collaboration with the Pacific and recognised the significance of this dialogue as a way to strengthen relations and establish stronger bonds between ICAO and the Pacific.
The PASO Council Chairperson, Mr Viali said:
“The Pacific region strives to deliver the best outcomes for our people. The aviation sector is one area where the economic and social benefits and contributions are not as advanced and developed as we would like, yet all of us in the Pacific have an essential reliance on a strong aviation industry and connectivity to prosper.”
“We welcome the support of ICAO to explore opportunities to engage and collaborate, whilst understanding the challenges we face and supporting each other to ensure ‘no country is left behind’,” said Mr Viali.
“With the ‘Port Moresby Declaration on Aviation Safety and Security for the Pacific Islands’, we are entrusted by our Ministers to deliver on our international obligations and achieve aviation safety and security for the region in line with international best practice.”
ICAO’s support for Pacific States
ICAO’s Asia Pacific Regional Director, Mr Tao Ma, reported to the PASO Council an overview of ICAO’s plans and practical actions to support closer cooperation and the provision of targeted assistance within the region including supporting the enhancement of PASO’s Regional Aviation Safety Oversight Organization (RSOO) status.
The ICAO Asia Pacific Regional Director, Mr Tao Ma said:
“Assisting Pacific States to enhance their aviation safety, security and capacity building is a priority for the ICAO Asia Pacific Office over the next year, as well as for years to come.”
PASO organisational performance recognised
The PASO Council recognised PASO’s ongoing strong organisational performance and effective service delivery to Members despite the operational challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Renewed PASO corporate structuring and operational arrangements, recognition of critical development partner support, and the ongoing preparations for the next Regional Aviation Ministers Meeting (RAMM2) in June 2022 were considered and supported by the PASO Council.
PASO’s General Manager, Mr Andrew Valentine, encouraged all Members to keep supporting each other and PASO to collectively navigate the COVID-19 pandemic together and enable the effective restart of Pacific aviation.
“PASO will continue to maintain our organisational effectiveness to support our Members with quality aviation safety and security Member services into 2022, including the development of a new surveillance framework for Members States,” said Mr Valentine.
A six-month schedule of PASO Council Meetings was adopted with Council to meet next in May for their Annual General Meeting.
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