Islamabad : Federal Minister for Aviation and Privatisation Muhammad Mian Soomro formally opened the 27th Steering Committee Meeting (SCM) of Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Programme – South Asia (COSCAP-SA).
The COSCAP-SA Steering Committee meets, at least once a year. So far its 26 meetings have been held in different member states.
The meeting is being held in a hotel in Islamabad from 29 to 31 January 2019, hosted by Pakistan and is being organised by Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Speaking at the inaugural session of SCM, the federal minister reaffirmed that Pakistan fully supports global policies and guidelines for a safe, efficient, sustainable and viable civil aviation.
He informed the participants that for building a strong and dependable air transport system, Pakistan has upgraded its air navigation infrastructure and installed adequate communication, navigation and surveillance facilities.
Enumerating the recent achievements made in Pakistan’s aviation sector he apprised that a newly built Islamabad International Airport is the most modern Greenfield airport in the country. A number of other international airports have recently been expanded and up-graded. He further said that construction of New Gwadar International Airport will not only make a robust air transport system of the country but will also trigger the economic growth in Pakistan.
Referring the theme of the meeting “Together for aviation Safety”, Muhammad Mian Soomro emphasized that it must be put to work in the interest of aviation sector of South Asia region.
He expressed hope that this meeting will place emphasis on fostering sustained, peaceful and unifying ties amongst all member states directed towards improving aviation safety.
Earlier in his welcome address Secretary Aviation Division and Director General, Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority Squadron Leader (r) Shahrukh Nusrat said that Pakistan firmly believes in the philosophy of sustained advancement in the field of civil aviation.
“Our efforts for sustained growth in civil aviation are evident from the re-vamping of our National Aviation Policy and the associated re-vitalization of Governmental role in Regulations, the strengthening of Aviation Safety and Security practices, the liberalization of market access and traffic rights for our bilateral Partners and the pivotal modernization of airports and aerodromes,” he added.
He also emphasized that civil aviation authorities are regulators but they should also be the facilitators for the progression and sustainability of Aviation Sector around the globe.
He further emphasised that this Meeting of Steering Committee, is not a mere forum, it signifies a genuine desire of continual efforts towards strengthening civil aviation oversight capabilities and improving the level of effective implementation resulting in enhanced Aviation Safety of the Member States.
In his keynote address, Hussain Jaleel, Chairman of COSCAP-SA and Chief Executive, Civil Aviation Authority Maldives highlighted the efforts of COSCAP-SA to promote the aviation safety as well as meet the professional proficiency requirements of ICAO. He also mentioned that how the forum is facilitating by imparting trainings and skill development of stakeholders in South Asian states under COSCAP-SA.
He also thanked Pakistan and Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority for organising the meeting in such a befitting manner and extending the warm hospitality to all the delegates.
Speaking on the occasion Arun Mishra, Regional Director, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) of Asia Pacific Region apprised that a total of 4.3 billion passengers were carried by air transport on scheduled services in 2018 which indicates a 6.1 per cent increase over 2017.
He revealed that over half of the world’s 1.4 billion tourists who travelled across international borders last year were transported by air, and that air transport now carries some 35% of world trade by value.
In this regard, he said, the Asia Pacific is the fastest growing region with an increase of 7.3 per cent.
He informed that aviation activities in South Asian countries have an average compliance level of 68.59% which is above the global average of 67.03%.
“Owing to dynamic growth of South Asian region’s air transport industry the entire global aviation community, with all stakeholders and partners must pledge the highest level of commitment to face growth challenges to maximize the benefits of aviation” he remarked.
However, he lamented that South Asian region critically lacks in qualified personnel in aviation safety oversight system, which is one of the main obstacles in its robust growth.
Captain Marie Helene Zubryckyj, Chief Technical Adviser COSCAP-SA also spoke on the occasion. She described the objectives of the meeting and provided the details of the agenda of all the three days of SC meeting. Later she conducted the introductory session of all the delegates.
It may be mentioned that the Co-operative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Programme – South Asia (COSCAP-SA) is a co-operative programme under the aegis of Int’l Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) of eight South Asian countries, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The core function of COSCAP-SA is to enhance capacity building of its Member States by providing Training and Technical Assistance in civil aviation sector.
The Programme is supported / sponsored by Airbus, Boeing, Director General Civil Aviation France, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Federal Aviation Administration FAA (USA) and other int’l aviation organizations / forums.
The idea of COSCAP was conceived in 1997 and COSCAP-SA started working in 1998. So far it has completed its 4 phases of 5 years each. Now, it has entered into its Phase-V.
The COSCAP-SA is managed by a Steering Committee consisting of the Directors General of civil aviation administration of its Member States; Director, ICAO Technical Cooperation Bureau; Regional Director, ICAO Asia Pacific Region; and the Chief Technical Adviser (CTA)