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RECONNECT TAIWAN TO WORLD, ICAO URGED

By Mbongeni Mbingo | 2022-09-22

In about a week, the world will gather for the international civil aviation organisation Assembly in Canada, the largest such gathering for aviation with about 193 member states participating.

The Republic of China (Taiwan) will not be part of this meeting, despite being an indispensable part of the global aviation network, with the country’s largest airport the fourth-busiest airport in the world in 2020 for international air cargo.

As part of global aviation operations, Taiwan is responsible for managing the heavily travelled Taipei Flight Information Region (Taipei FIR) in East Asia.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly is held at least once every three years and seeks to establish the worldwide policy of the organisation for the next triennium.

The 41st session of the ICAO Assembly will be held from September 27, aimed at promoting the post-pandemic recovery of civil aviation and under the theme ‘Reconnecting the World’.
According to its website, during Assembly sessions, ICAO’s complete work programme in the technical, economic, legal and technical cooperation fields is reviewed in detail.

Assembly outcomes are then provided to the other bodies of ICAO and to its Member States in order to guide their continuing and future work. Each Member State is entitled to one vote on matters before the Assembly, and decisions at these Sessions are taken by a majority of the votes cast – except where otherwise provided for in the Convention.????

Despite that the ICAO has long invited civil aviation stakeholders to its meetings, the Taiwan Ambassador to Eswatini Jeremy Liang has revealed that his country has been excluded from ICAO since 1971 for political reasons.

As such, Liang has called for Taiwan’s participation on such a significant forum, given the precedent set through its attendance in 2013. “Taiwan calls on ICAO to invite Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration (Taiwan CAA) to attend the 41st session of the ICAO Assembly, as well as facilitate Taiwan’s meaningful participation in ICAO meetings, activities, and mechanisms.

Taiwan calls on ICAO to reconnect with Taiwan so that Taiwan can be part of the collective effort to maintain safer skies,” said the ambassador in an exclusive interview.
According to Liang, ICAO has for many years invited not only contracting states, but also non-contracting states, nongovernmental international civil aviation organisations and airline representatives, to attend Assembly sessions.

He said that to ensure the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation, ICAO should incorporate the participation of all civil aviation-related stakeholders.
The ambassador explained that the Taipei FIR, part of ICAO’s network of over 300 FIRs, oversees 18 international routes, four domestic routes and 17 airports providing civil air services.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2019, the Taipei FIR provided services to over 1.85 million controlled flights (a 5.7 per cent increase over 2018) and to about 72 million travellers arriving, departing or transiting through Taiwan (a 4.7 per cent increase over 2018).

He shared that despite the severe effect of the pandemic on air passenger volume, air cargo climbed 26 per cent over 2019 to reach 2.92 million tons in 2021.

“National carriers China Airlines and EVA Air have been two of the few airlines around the world to have remained profitable and not cut jobs.

This has been due to their being equipped with extensive freight fleets and operational flexibility and implementing timely passenger aircraft configuration guidance shared by the US Federal Aviation Administration, European Union Aviation Safety Agency and aircraft manufacturers,” he offered.

According to Airport Council International statistics, Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan’s largest airport was the fourth-busiest airport in the world in 2020 for international air cargo.

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