Good afternoon. Thank you for inviting me to join this important panel. As I know our time is limited, I will move directly to my remarks. For those of you who are unfamiliar with IATA, we are the trade association for the world’s airlines. Our mission is to represent, lead and serve the air transport industry and our 275 members account for around 83% of global airline traffic.
Safety is our industry’s top priority. This year, more than four billion passengers will travel safely on more than 40 million flights. This does not happen without significant effort. Safety is built on partnerships and working together among many different stakeholders including airlines, airports, air navigation service providers, regulators, and ICAO, of course.
Aviation safety also depends upon globally-accepted standards and best practices, reached through the ICAO process, which is strongly supported by IATA.
Global standards are sustained by auditing. It ensures that we are all aligned and working from the same playbook. IATA and ICAO work in parallel in this regard: ICAO has the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program, and we have the IATA Operational Safety Audit or IOSA and the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations, or ISAGO.
Partnerships, and global standards supported by audits, will be vital as we address the coming challenges and opportunities for aviation in the areas of Big Data and Innovation.
Let’s start with Big Data, which represents an enormous opportunity in terms of focusing future safety efforts. Effective accident investigations are a crucial learning tool--and need to be strongly supported by all states. However, we need to recognize that investigations are limited in terms of being able to provide the trend-data for a systemic risk-based approach to improving safety. In order to understand where the next threat may arise, we need to broaden our data collection to include information from the 100,000 flights operated safely each day.
The IATA Global Aviation Data Management program, or GADM, is critical to our future and it depends for its success on partnerships and cooperation. It already includes data from more than 470 organizations. And over 90% of IATA member carriers are participating in at least one of the many databases that feed into it. If you are not already participating in a GADM program, I strongly encourage you to join.
The value of GADM is not theoretical. Information provided through the Flight Data eXchange program has revealed a rising number of “resolution advisories” in certain airspace. In other words, data has identified a problem. And analyzing it further will point us towards the solution, based on global standards and best practices.
Innovation and New Technology
We will also need to rely on our strong partnerships and global standards as we address the challenges produced by innovative technology. One example is Unmanned Aircraft Systems or UAS. These represent a tremendous commercial opportunity and can also be used to deliver medicines and other life-saving supplies to remote communities. But we must ensure that they do not affect flight safety or efficiency for existing airspace users.
There is significant work being developed at ICAO to produce standards for UAS that are equipped to share the airspace with manned aircraft. Smaller vehicles, whether intended for recreational or commercial use, need to be kept out of airspace used for approach and landing operations of air transport. To help countries define and implement regulations, IATA and other aviation stakeholders worked with ICAO to develop a toolkit to guide UAS safe operation and governance.
In tandem with this, research and development work is ongoing into an unmanned traffic management system or UTM. Just like UAS, UTM systems will be highly automated. We should view the UTM environment as a development and proving ground for new thinking, new technology, and a new concept of operations that could be extended to manned operations.
The last thought that I would like to share is a favorite of mine—that aviation is the business of freedom. There is a reason why we are all gathered here today and why so many people work to make aviation safe, efficient and sustainable. Aviation’s success makes the world a better place in very real ways—connecting people and businesses, growing economies and enabling journeys of exploration and discovery. In this way, the aviation sector is an essential component of a broader mobility strategy to help achieve the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The ICAO Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) agreement is a great example of what we can achieve when working together. And I look forward to sharing thoughts in this discussion on what else we can achieve together.