Conference of ICAO's Director Generals for Asia and Pacific regions begins

Kathmandu, Aug 19: The 56th Conference of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Director Generals for Asia and the Pacific kicked off in Kathmandu today.

The Conference is attended by 390 foreign senior officials from 46 countries in the Asia Pacific. The event is organised by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).

Inaugurating the Conference, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli expressed his hope that it would helpful in determining future strategy for strengthening safety, for infrastructure development and capacity enhancement in the aviation sector. He spoke the need of combined efforts to enhance quality in aviation service by adopting related advanced technology and global new innovations.

Stating that it was very essential to extend connectivity in country like Nepal featuring a combination of geographical diversities: mountains, hills and Tarai plains, he said that collective programmes should be prepared by bearing in mind such distinct geography, weather conditions and sensitivity of the aviation sector to ensure air safety, quality strengthening and long-term improvements in the related field.

Nepal remains as an attractive tourist destination in the world tourism due to its diversities and richness in culture, language, population, nature, geography and flora and fauna; and a role of aviation sector is vital to promote touristic activities thus supporting a journey towards economic prosperity, according to the Prime Minister.

"Nepal is home to a rare one-horned rhino, home to the world's highest peak, Sagarmatha, and it is blessed by innumerable natural gifts and we want to identity it in the world by these features," said the Prime Minister.

He took time to say that policy-level improvements, infrastructure development, use of advanced technology and service and safety strengthening in the aviation sector were the priorities of the government. As he said, Nepal had set off a journey towards economic progress and development and wanted to collaborate with the international community towards that end. Lately countries' aviation sector had advanced towards a progress and mutual support from all countries was necessary to find solutions to the issues in the aviation sector, the Prime Minister added. He assured that under-construction Gautam Buddha International Airport and Pokhara Regional Airport would be completed on time and brought into operations within the expected schedule.

Stating that Nepal was achieving progress in the aviation safety and sector lately, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Kumar Bhattarai shared that many measures were initiated to make aviation sector in the country more effective as per the criteria set by ICAO.

Expressing gratitude for handing over the ICAO President Council Certificate in recognition of the progress Nepal made in the aviation sector, Minister Bhattarai stated that works relating to reforms at policy-level were forwarded and laws would be formulated to establish the Authority as a regulatory and service-provider body.

Authority's Director General Rajan Pokharel expressed his confidence that such conference would further support to make Nepal's aviation sector more credible as Nepal was steadily witnessing reforms in is aviation sector.

He shared that the construction of the under-construction international airports were expedited while favorable environment has been enabled to upgrade the only international airport in the country-Tribhuvan University.

ICAO Council President Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu underscored the collective effort more quality aviation safety in Nepal by incorporating latest aviation technology.

Likewise, ICAO Asia Pacific Regional Director Arun Mishra remarked that Nepal was moving towards reforms in aviation to ensure safety and credibility.

On the occasion of 75th anniversary of ICAO, Nepal organized the summit this year. ICAO has 193-member nations including Nepal. This is the third time Nepal is hosting such an event.

ICAO's banner was hoisted atop the Everest (Sagarmatha) this spring to mark its 75th anniversary. On the occasion, Minister Bhattarai handed over the same banner to the ICAO's President Aliu.

The presence and participation of the high-ranking foreign officers from aviation sector in this summit is believed to send across positive message about Nepal's aviation and tourism sector.

The Conference will dwell on the enhancing technical capacity, developing physical infrastructures to ensure safety and security in the aviation of the Asia Pacific Region.

The conclusions to be drawn from this Conference will be presented in the 40th general assembly of the ICAO to be held from ICAO's headquarters in Montreal.

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