Like most toddlers, BB was fascinated by planes, but unlike most boys, this fascination has carried on as he grew up and has propelled him to his area of study and where he is today. But today, with the airline industry in shambles due to the ongoing pandemic, I wonder if he will continue in this field or will make a pivot, but that’s a topic for another day. So, when I heard about this day devoted to civil aviation, I knew I had to find out more.
Tomorrow is the International Civil Aviation Day which has been celebrated on 07 December each year since 1994 by the International Civil Aviation Organisation or ICAO. The ICAO is an autonomous UN Body accountable for keeping up with the safety standards of international aviation. The date was chosen because December 07 1994 was the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Convention on International Civil Aviation. The Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known more popularly as the Chicago Convention, was signed by delegates from 54 countries. This defining international agreement has since permitted the global civil aviation system to develop peacefully and in a manner benefitting all peoples and nations of the world. The purpose of the day is to recognise the importance of aviation, especially international air travel, to the social and economic development of the world and the day is intended is to help generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation to the social and economic development of countries, and of the unique role of ICAO in helping countries to cooperate and realise a global rapid transit network at the service of all mankind. The importance of aviation as an engine of global connectivity has never been more relevant to look to international flight as a fundamental enabler of global peace and prosperity.
Seventy-five years after ICAO’s foundation, the International Civil Aviation network carries over four billion passengers annually. The global Air Transport sector supports 65.5 million jobs and USD 2.7 trillion in global economic activity, with over 10 million women and men working within the industry to ensure 120,000 flights and 12 million passengers a day are carried safely to their destinations. The wider supply chain, flow-on impacts and jobs in tourism made possible by air transport show that at least 65.5 million jobs and 3.6 per cent of global economic activity are supported by the aviation industry according to research by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG).
Civil aviation, which includes all non-military aviation, both private and commercial plays a key role in human affairs. It lets us discover our world’s wondrous geographic and cultural diversity, enables us to learn about and benefit from each other and connects societies through global travel and trade, advancing access to food, education and healthcare. Today COVID-19 has severed international connections by air, cut off businesses from clients, kept tourists from destinations and disproportionately affected the vulnerable, it has also disrupted the operations and finances of airlines and airports worldwide, threatening their capacity to assure the global supply of medicines, vaccines, humanitarian aid and other vital goods. Aviation is also an energy-guzzling industry with emissions from the industry accounting for more than 2% of the global total, ranking it in the top ten emitters, so this time can be spent in thinking of ways to make the industry greener.
Every five years, coinciding with ICAO anniversaries, the ICAO council establishes a special anniversary theme for International Civil Aviation Day. Between these anniversary years, Council representatives select a single theme for the full four-year intervening period. The theme until 2023 is Advancing Innovation for Global Aviation Development. Aviation is an important engine of our world and will be playing a critical role in lifting the world to recovery from COVID-19. It connects us and allows us to meet family and friends and also broaden our horizons and our minds. To everyone in this industry, especially in these trying times, here’s hoping that times change for the better and the skies are once again filled with planes transporting people and goods across the seas and land.