Directors General convene in Paris to examine the aviation sector as it emerges from the crisis

Paris, 6 December 2022 — The latest session of the ECAC Forum of Directors General (FORUM/15) took place in Paris. This year’s programme examined the aviation sector as it makes its way out of the crisis. Over 90 participants and speakers from 34 ECAC Member States, the European Commission, EASA, ICAO, IATA, ACI EUROPE, Lot Polish Airlines, Leiden University, AerCap, Royal Schiphol Group and the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration joined the session in person.

Opening the Forum, David McMillan, former EUROCONTROL Director General and former United Kingdom Director General for Civil Aviation, explored 2022 aviation trends of increased traffic that were dampened by service disruption and specific challenges faced by some stakeholders.

The first session, moderated by Elisabeth Landrichter, DGCA Austria and ECAC Focal Point for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, further explored 2022 trends and the root causes within and external to the system. The Forum recognised that the industry is facing new challenges as it continues towards recovery and plans for the future. Both industry and regulators must learn from the experiences of the pandemic and summer 2022 events. There are lessons particularly on the importance of enhanced cooperation and transparency.

Piotr Samson, DGCA Poland and ECAC Focal Point for Safety, moderated the second session of the Forum on the aeropolitical landscape in the context of ICAO and the Chicago Convention framework. The Forum condemned recent breaches and urged States to stand together behind international law for fair and consistent responses to current and future exceptional events. It was agreed, however, that the current aviation sector has undergone significant change since 2019, resulting in new pressures in some areas and justifying review of the current aviation framework.

The last session, moderated by Tânia Cardoso Simões, President of the Board of Directors of ANAC (Portugal), examined what is needed for the sector to achieve long-term sustainability and resilience. The Forum discussed the important roles that innovation and flexible processes play in supporting these aims. It looked at the impacts of new technology in the market – from newer aircraft systems to green propulsion aircraft types and digital analytical tools to enable predictive safety management systems. Forum participants agreed above all the vital need for effective regulation and enhanced cooperation to sustain the sector.

ECAC President Alessio Quaranta brought the Forum to a close by underlining the importance of finding practical ways through common solutions to support the industry in its recovery from the crisis and in the new challenges it faces.