Directors General spring meeting in Paris

Paris, 23 May 2023 — Optimising States’ SAF production and distribution potential, and preparing to take best advantage of the energy revolution in aviation were highlighted as a major priority by ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar during his address at the 160th meeting of ECAC Directors General of Civil Aviation in Paris on 23 May 2023.

Other key issues considered to be priorities for the sector were innovation, including green innovation, and the importance of addressing solutions and challenges in a coordinated manner, as well as the importance of States and the aviation community remaining engaged towards strengthening their global health crisis preparedness and management frameworks.

European coordinator in the ICAO Council, Valdís Ásta Aðalsteinsdóttir (NORDICAO/Iceland), briefed the meeting on the main outcomes of the 228th ICAO Council Session and the European priorities for the 229th session in June 2023. Gunnar Ljungberg (DGCA Sweden) provided an update on the main achievements of the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, highlighting the conclusion of the ReFuelEU Aviation agreement and Chapter 4 of the Single European Sky 2+ package. Filip Cornelis (European Commission) underlined the important work achieved under the Swedish Presidency including on ReFuelEU, which he was confident would be finalised by the end of June. He noted SES 2+ was now moving into a critical new chapter and the hope that the strong foundation built under the Swedish Presidency would allow for further development of EUROCONTROL in its role as Network Manager.

Joining the meeting virtually, Director General of Civil Aviation of Ukraine, Oleksandr Bilchuk, updated directors on the current civil aviation situation in Ukraine and the challenges facing the aviation sector. Directors General reiterated their strong support for and solidarity towards Ukraine and they welcomed measures taken by ECAC, EUROCONTROL, the European Union and EASA in support of Ukraine, underlining the importance of coordination between all parties.

Acknowledging the growing importance of facilitation in aviation, Directors General decided that the ECAC Quality Assessment Programme on assistance for persons with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility should be established as part of the organisation’s capacity building offer from 2024.

They also adopted the work programme of the ECAC Network on Diversity and Inclusion in Civil Aviation and welcomed the proposal to organise more training courses on diversity and unconscious bias for ECAC Member States based on the positive outcome of the pilot training held at the beginning of the year. A new ECAC Charter on Diversity and Inclusion was adopted, and Directors General agreed to create a new position of Focal Point for Diversity and Inclusion, to be approved through a special Plenary Session.

EUROCONTROL Director General, Raùl Medina, provided information on the pillars of the “Raising the bar” programme, which is structured on three main pillars: technology and innovation, international engagement, and people; the Network traffic situation for 2023; and the support provided to Ukraine through the EUROCONTROL ATM Fund. Jeremie Teahan (EASA) briefed Directors General on recent EASA developments, including on environment activities and actions to be handled by the Preparations for Summer 2023 Task Force.