Qatar & CORSIA
The UN aviation organization located in Montreal is not given to the frequent issuance of grand pronouncements; such publicity is not consistent with the understated tone of ICAO. However, two recent events merit greater attention.
I. The Blockade of Qatar
There’s an international CIVIL aviation conflict occurring in the Gulf. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and announced a land, sea and airspace blockade over terrorism support claims. Qatar decided to take its complaint over the neighboring countries denial of permission to overfly these sovereign nations to ICAO. The last time that the State of Qatar approached the UN aviation institution, it suggested that the headquarters move from Montreal to Doha.
His Excellency, the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti met with President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu.
At the ICAO Montreal headquarters, HE the Minister of Transport and Communications gave a presentation on aviation safety. The four neighboring Arab countries by blockading Qatar flagged flights, HE alleged that the impact of siege affected the aviation safety of Qatar, as well as the global system of civil aviation. HE added that security is being diminished by this joint action. HE the Minister also called on ICAO to fulfil its responsibilities as per the Chicago Convention and its annexes as well as other international civil aviation agreements.
To emphasize the significance of this diplomatic entreaty, HE the Chairman of Qatar Civil Aviation Authority Abdullah Nasser Turki Al Subaey and HE Qatar’s Ambassador to Canada Fahad Mohammed Youssef Kafood also attended the meeting.
ICAO said its role in regional conflict is “limited to ensuring the safety and security of air navigation and will not touch upon political issues, for lack of jurisdiction.” A simpler explanation might have cited the Convention on International Civil Aviation of 1944, known as the Chicago Convention. The First Freedom of Flight, established 73 years ago, makes it clear that the sovereign nations reserve the right to grant and implicitly to deny/withdraw overflight privileges, in stating:
First Freedom of the Air – the r+ight or privilege, in respect of scheduled international air services, granted by one State to another State or States to fly across its territory without landing.
Qatar gets no succor from ICAO.
II. Aviation Green Goals are still in effect, but are they?
ICAO Council President to airline CEOs: CORSIA remains on track for 2021
ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu brought a clear and determined message to global airline CEOs today 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.”
It will be interesting to see if the Trump Administration, which recently withdrew from the Paris Agreement, will take similar action on CORSIA. The US industry seemed content with that emissions target.
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