ICAO rapidly reviewing laptop and device restrictions to help balance safety and security concerns

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MONTREAL – Speaking during his keynote address to the International Air Transport Association’s Annual General Meeting in Cancun, Mexico, ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu stressed to world airline CEOs that the security and safety risks must be effectively balanced when considering any restrictions on passengers’ personal electronic devices (PEDs) being permitted in aircraft cabins.

“We recognize that the number of business and pleasure travellers wishing to carry their laptops or other devices into aircraft in the years ahead will continue to increase, with those devices becoming more and more important to their productivity and social needs,” President Aliu highlighted. “Our guiding priority in the ICAO Council, when we review this matter this fall during our 212th Session, will be to ensure that all related security and safety risks are fully considered and prudently balanced.”

“ICAO has now established a Multidisciplinary Cargo Safety Group to consider the combined safety, security and facilitation aspects of this issue,” the President continued, “and just last week our Aviation Security Panel recommended a new Task Force be established to further review the security risks from improvised explosive devices which can be concealed in passenger devices. We are working very rapidly to ensure this work will be completed in time to permit the Council’s comprehensive review later this year.”

ICAO helps to coordinate global responses to aviation security risks, and last October, at its 39th Assembly, States asked that it develop a new Global Aviation Security Plan to aid those efforts. The first draft of the new global plan was endorsed by the Aviation Security Panel meeting that recently concluded, and will be made available for review by the ICAO Council later this month.

While speaking on security at the IATA AGM, President Aliu also highlighted that cybersecurity continues to be a matter of serious concern to the air transport sector, which began coordinating its threat assessments and response planning several years ago.

He stressed to the IATA airline CEOs that “The definition of this threat context is especially relevant today, given that new System-wide Information Management (SWIM) provisions will begin to come into force as of 2018, making us more connected and integrated as a global network than ever before.”

These and many other issues will be at the top of the agenda when ICAO convenes its inaugural Aviation Security Symposium this September.

ICAO Council President to airline CEOs: CORSIA remains on track for 2021
Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu brought a clear and determined message to global airline CEOs concerning aviation’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or ‘CORSIA’.

“We should dispel any concerns that any recent developments on the Paris Agreement will negatively impact our shared planning for effective and globally aligned aviation emissions mitigation,” President Aliu underlined, “and I would urge you all to enthusiastically and promptly promote the CORSIA’s full implementation. This global agreement demonstrates not only concrete leadership and social responsibility on climate change, but also simple and sound economic sense for airlines all over the world.”

Last October, world governments endorsed the CORSIA at ICAO’s 39th Assembly, with countries representing over 80% of international flight operations volunteering to participate as early as its pilot phase in 2021.

“Since that time, Saudi Arabia, Gabon, El Salvador and most recently Nigeria have also signalled their intention to join, meaning that some 90% of international operations will be covered by the CORSIA when it launches,” President Aliu stressed.

Since the agreement forged at its Assembly last October, ICAO has been working to ensure the timely implementation of CORSIA, including the definition of its Emissions Unit Criteria, Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV), and the Registry framework which will be needed.

Once it launches, the CORSIA offsetting results will complement the other main emissions reduction measures being pursued by governments and the air transport sector through ICAO. These are presently focused on accelerated tech innovations, streamlined operations to decrease fuel burn and noise, and the development and deployment of sustainable alternative jet fuels. 

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