Yih-Ping Liu, Taiwan’s Envoy in Nigeria, argues that the best time to include Taiwan CAA (Civil Aeronautics Administration) is now at the ongoing 41st session of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO Assembly). This is to share its experience on how Taiwan’s national carriers are able to remain profitable and avoid job cuts since the pandemic.
By Andy Yih-Ping Liu
It is the best time to reconnect with Taiwan so that it can be part of the collective efforts to maintain safer skies, writes Andy Yih-Ping Liu
The 41st session of the triennial International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) kicked off on September 27 and scheduled to wind down on October 7 this year in Montreal, Canada. It would be ICAO’s biggest event since the COVID-19 pandemic began and disrupted global travel, especially the aviation sector under its purview. The meeting is symbolic for supporting the recovery of airline passenger as well as the cargo aviation sector, impacted negatively by the pandemic.
With the goal of the 41st Assembly session stated as “reconnecting the world”, no country’s civil aviation sector should be excluded from participating in the session. It is therefore pertinent to point out that Taiwan is responsible for managing the heavily travelled Taipei Flight Information Region (Taipei FIR) in East Asia, which is part of ICAO’s network of over 300 FIRs, oversees 18 international routes, four domestic routes, and 17 airports providing civil air services.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, the Taipei FIR provided services to over 1.85 million controlled flights and about 72 million travellers arriving, departing, or transiting through Taiwan. In addition, according to Airports Council International statistics for 2020 and 2021, Taiwan Taoyuan Inte rnational Airport, Taiwan’s largest, was the fourth-busiest airport in the world for international air cargo.
Despite this commanding position in East Asia, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has long invited civil aviation stakeholders to its meetings while excluding Taiwan. Indeed, ICAO invites not only contracting states but also non-Contracting States, non-governmental international civil aviation organisations, and airline representatives to attend Assembly sessions while excluding Taiwan, an indispensable part of the global aviation network, since 1971 for political reasons.
The best time to include Taiwan CAA (Civil Aeronautics Administration) is now at the ongoing 41st session of the ICAO Assembly to share its experience on how Taiwan’s national carriers are able to remain profitable and avoid job cuts since the pandemic.
Taiwan’s participation in ICAO, for now and in the long run, will enable civil aviation authorities of other countries to benefit from technological advances which are changing the aviation sector, especially in managing danger posed by the wider use of unmanned aircraft systems such as drones, and their potential risk to aviation safety and airport operations.
The Taiwan CAA is concerned that its inability to join in the plan and collaborate with other countries in the Asia-Pacific region may affect the growth of traffic in the Taipei FIR or even generate a bottleneck for the entire Asia-Pacific region. The Taiwan CAA aspires to contribute meaningfully to ICAO by sharing its professional experiences to help the world meet the ICAO goal of a seamless network for aviation safety and growth.
Taiwan is willing to share its aviation experiences with other countries, including Nigeria and hopes to learn about other CAA’s innovations to improve aviation safety. Taiwan calls on ICAO to include Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration (Taiwan CAA) to participate in the 41st session of the ICAO Assembly, as well as, in the long run, facilitate Taiwan’s meaningful participation in ICAO meetings, activities, and mechanisms.
We call on ICAO to reconnect with Taiwan so that Taiwan can be part of the collective efforts to maintain safer skies. ICAO should embrace Taiwan’s CAA so that it may obtain timely information and ensure the safety and efficiency of all aircraft and passengers arriving, departing, and transiting through the Taipei FIR.
*Yih-Ping Liu is Taiwan’s Envoy in Nigeria