International Aviation Safety & Efficiency
Europe’s South Asia Partnership & FAA’s Caribbean Initiative
The EU announces another aspect of its global strategy; its most recent action is to take a strong position with the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In support of the decision to support these countries, Patrick Ky, Executive Director of EASA, said, “South Asia has the highest forecast traffic growth of any region in the world over the next 20 years. Europe looks forward to partnering with South Asia to meet the opportunities and challenges this presents.”
This four-year project is intended to improve aviation safety in these eight countries. Ky noted that it will promote institutional and industrial links between the two regions. He also noted that the agreement will mitigate the environmental impact of aviation in this area of the Southeast Asia. The price tag, to be paid by the EU is €7.5 million or $8.14 million.
The above chart shows the analytical basis for selecting this region a priority. Plus, the consensus view of economic forecasters (i.e. the World Bank) is that the SAR will be a leader.
In contrast, the FAA Administrator has established a strategic planning process to guide his team’s mission. In the international sphere, the FAA’s immediate priority was articulated here:
“The Caribbean region is of critical importance to the United States,” Administrator Huerta said. “By working together, we are building a foundation of increased cooperation that will allow us to enhance safety and efficiency throughout a region that serves as a destination for so many travelers.”
Air traffic in the Caribbean is expected to grow rapidly – as much as five to six percent over the next two decades. The region is second only to the Middle East in terms of aviation growth. More than 17 percent of international flights departing from the United States are headed for destinations in the Caribbean. Many more flights transit Caribbean airspace between North and South America. This represents millions of passengers from all over the region and the world.
Through its Caribbean Initiative, the FAA’s technical experts work with their Caribbean partners and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to increase airport safety and certification in the region and to improve air traffic flow management through collaborative decision-making. The initiative also supports the region’s implementation of ICAO.
The Caribbean is a critical nexus for the U.S. airspace system
More than 7 million passengers fly from the United States to the Caribbean each year, accounting for nearly 17 percent of all U.S. outbound passengers.
Air traffic management is complex and requires extensive coordination among air navigation partners. The region includes 10 air traffic service providers managed by separate sovereign nations. Half a million aircraft cross one of the six flight regions adjacent to the U.S.
Varying tropical weather patterns and the complexity of a multitude of airports contribute to air traffic schedule uncertainty and delays within the region.
U.S. carriers have begun to operate scheduled passenger service Cuba.
While there may be some community of interest between the Caribbean and the US, there is virtually no indication that these nations will be participants in the global aerospace industry. When the FAA was allowed to promote UA aviation, the underlying principle was that such proselytizing would expand the coverage of the safety approach of FARs. Prioritizing countries, which are committed to manufacturing commercial aircraft, seems a worthy goal. Perhaps South Asia should precede the Caribbean in the Administrator’s list?