CANSO at the 41st ICAO Assembly – our final reflections


The second week of the ICAO 41st Assembly started with adjustments to the schedule to allow for more discussions in the Executive Committee as they were far behind in their deliberations. Evening sessions were added each day to make sure the deliberations could be finished before the closing of the Assembly on Friday 7 October.

The issue that dominated the Assembly in both the early days and final moments was climate and the approval of a Long-Term Aspirational Goal (LTAG) for international aviation and a review of CORSIA, the ICAO offsetting program that requires airlines to purchase carbon credits to offset growth in emissions. A carefully constructed deal negotiated at the ICAO Council held, and the Assembly approved a resolution encouraging ICAO and its Member States “to work together to strive to achieve a collective long-term global aspirational goal for international aviation (LTAG) of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, in support of the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal.”

The Assembly also established the CORSIA baseline at 85 per cent of 2019 traffic levels following the current pilot stage. The above two decisions establish an ambitious pathway for aviation decarbonisation for which the ATM industry will be expected to contribute by minimising system inefficiencies that increase fuel burn and emissions. 

It is easy to forget that on the sidelines of the above issues, substantive work was accomplished that will drive the ICAO work plan for the next triennium. Changes to ICAO procedures to (hopefully) better match the innovation cycle, new activities related to workforce and training issues, dialogue on economic issues still plaguing the industry and lessons from the pandemic, and even consideration of the need for new guidance for CAAs on best practices in regulating ANSPs were all discussed. The working paper from CANSO (WP356) titled: “Industry Roadmap for future skies” was well received and the actions proposed in the paper were accepted ensuring ICAO attention on key items essential to the achievement of the CATS Global Council future sky vision.

As expected, most of the lengthy discussion in the Executive Committee were of political nature. The issue of unannounced missile launches endangering international civil aviation resulted in a resolution, condemning those launches and calling for a stop of this infraction of the Chicago Convention.

The Committee also agreed to adopt a resolution that condemned Belarus for committing an act of unlawful interference that deliberately endangered the safety and security of Ryanair Flight FR4978 in May 2021.

Additionally, a resolution was adopted to acknowledge and condemn several infractions by the Russian Federation of its obligations under the Chicago Convention.

During the third part of elections regarding the membership to the ICAO Council, the remaining 14 States were selected. Mauritania, Qatar, and Zimbabwe were elected to be a Member of the ICAO Council for the first time in the 78 year history of ICAO. We congratulate all States that were elected in the Council and we look forward to work closely with them during the coming triennium.