ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu welcomes worldwide education, youth and air transport leaders to the NGAP Summit at ICAO’s Montreal HQ

ICAO has completed its inaugural Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) Global Summit in Montréal, which saw over 500 education and air transport leaders working together to develop strategies to help aviation attract people to operate and manage the future air transport network.

Participants included officials from the International Labour Organization, the International Telecommunication Union, UNESCO, and UN Women.

“My colleagues and I are very determined to attract, educate, train and retain the best and the brightest that our coming generations have to offer to manage the growth of the global air transport network,” stressed ICAO’s Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu in her opening remarks. “By 2036, some 620,000 pilots will be needed across our global network, and no less than 80% of these aviators will be new pilots not yet flying today. A similar story is playing out with respect to the future air traffic controllers, cabin crew, maintenance personnel and other skilled technicians needed.

“The availability of safe, secure and ICAO compliant aviation operations is being increasingly recognised today as a key catalyst for economic development. Well-planned aviation modernisation and capacity increases will play a critical role in many States’ attainment of the UN Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Liu continued.

The ICAO Secretary General also advocated for partnerships between ICAO and education and research institutions to study and develop solutions to global aviation challenges to support aviation planning and development.

Among the concrete solutions proposed during the event was the need to establish a network of educational institutions to support related youth attraction initiatives and related research and analysis on sector-wide human resources development metrics. Participants also underlined the need to enhance ICAO’s leading role with respect to educational and training programmes focused on the needs of next generation aviation professionals.

“We need to broaden our scope and begin instilling greater aviation awareness in high school and younger students, and especially in young girls,” Dr. Liu noted, with her gender-focused points being well supported through a UNESCO ‘Think Pink Hat’ session held on the sidelines of the Summit. These aim to instil STEM education and career excitement in young girls, and some 60 students from 19 schools took part in the edition carried out during the ICAO NGAP event.

ICAO also conducted a Model ICAO Forum during the event aimed at raising university-level awareness on the role of the organisation on the international stage and the challenges associated with forging global consensus on air transport governance issues. Student Model ICAO participants also benefitted from speed mentoring sessions with attending professionals, and career exhibits by a number of air transport and industry organisations.

The government of Qatar supported the Summit’s goals by formalizing a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a new aviation scholarship, and in a similar vein Ukraine’s National Aviation University signed an MoU with ICAO for several new aviation internships.

A new strategic partnership with UNESCO also resulted from the Summit, enabling the two United Nations agencies to explore educational opportunities across a wider range of aviation professions, and to develop stronger links with the related United Nations SDGs.