Air transport plays an essential role of linking many coastal areas and communities in hinterland, many of which are not easily accessible by any other means of transportation. By connecting States to regional and global markets and facilitating travel, tourism and trade, air transport generates economic growth and development, provides jobs and fosters other socio-economic benefits.
Harnessing and maximising the benefits of air transport requires enabling regulatory environments and quality infrastructure commensurate with the level of predicted traffic growth. Air transport policies and regulations should aim to facilitate transformation and new technologies. Efforts in this respect must focus on the liberalization of market access and the establishment of good regulatory practices and governance for air transport, including modernization, harmonization and convergence of regulatory approaches and regimes of States, and the promotion of connectivity, competition, transparency and choice for consumers.
The objective of this Air Transport Meeting is to proffer practical solutions to remove existing regulatory impediments to air transport liberalization and to finance the development of quality aviation infrastructure, with the follow-up to the ICAO Statement on the Development of Air Transport in North America, Central America, the Caribbean and South America adopted at the ICAO Regional Air Transport Conference (Montego Bay, Jamaica, 7 to 9 October 2014), the Medellin Statement on Tourism and Air Transport for Development adopted at the Joint World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)/ICAO High-Level Forum on Tourism and Air Transport for Development (Medellin, Colombia, 14 September 2015), as well as the conclusion adopted by the South American Civil Aviation Directors for the sustainability of air transport growth (SAM Plan), (Asunción, Paraguay 4-6 December 2017) .
The Air Transport Meeting will also build on the outcome of the Special Event on Promoting Air Links between African States and the Diaspora (Accra, Ghana, 30 March 2017) on promoting tourism and air links between African States and the Diaspora, especially the Caribbean States. The meeting will result in: a) the establishment of a collaborative mechanism between the African Union and the Caribbean to ensure implementation of plan of actions and achievements of set objectives, targets and timelines; and b) the establish of a financial framework for aviation development in the African and Caribbean Regions that will be integrated into the African Union and Caribbean development plans.