This week sees the global aviation community gathering in Montreal, Canada, for the 41st ICAO Assembly. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the UN’s specialised aviation body, will bring together the world’s governments and industry representatives to discuss and tackle a wide variety of issues facing aviation today. Over the next two weeks, the UK aerospace industry will be represented at the Assembly through the UK Government and the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industry Associations (ICCAIA), aerospace’s industry body that observes proceedings.

The General Assembly only takes place once every three years and is key in setting the direction of the work that ICAO focuses on over the coming years. It has been a tumultuous few years for aviation  since the 40th Assembly in 2019, with the industry emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and tackling the resultant supply chain shortages, abetted by a major war in Eastern Europe at the start of 2022. The period since the last gathering of the Assembly has also seen an ever-increasing spotlight on the climate impact of aviation, with the entire air transport industry facing up to the challenge of developing a sustainable and green sector.

Getting agreement at ICAO on anything is never an easy task, with more than 190 member states. Nevertheless, there has been a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes over the past few months from industry and government to reach consensus on many major policy areas. Most notably, perhaps, is the hope for a substantial package of global climate measures, which will include a reconsideration of an appropriate baseline for CORSIA, as well as the setting of a Long-Term Aspirational Goal (LTAG).

ADS have been engaged closely with the Department for Transport (DfT) in the UK to make sure ADS members’ voices are heard, including the development of a comprehensive position paper on issues, including supporting the development of a LTAG and the wider objectives of the DfT. Beyond CORSIA and the LTAG, there are many other areas of focus of interest to ADS members, including, the development of regulatory frameworks for new technologies and improving the regulation process to allow for consideration of new and novel innovations.

Six years ago, ICAO and the global aviation industry became the first industry to negotiate a global carbon offsetting agreement in the form of CORSIA. While the 41st Assembly this year will not provide all the answers for many of the questions facing industry today, it could go a long way in the right direction, setting the global industry on the right path. ADS will monitor and update on the latest coming out of Montreal as it happens, and will provide some post-Assembly analysis once it is clear what has been agreed.