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Aviation and Aerospace

An Incredible New Era of Aerospace Innovation


Juan Carlos Salazar

Secretary General, International Civil Aviation Organization

The aviation and aerospace industries are embarking on an incredible new era of technical and process innovation, and the Montreal-based UN International Civil Aviation Organization is transforming itself to support and accelerate the global adoption of latest advances.

For over a century now, aircraft designers and operators have harnessed innovation and a bold spirit of adventure to make possible what was once impossible; to connect what was disconnected; and to turn the challenge and adversity of vast geographic distances into a wealth of opportunity and prosperity. 

This long history of bold and cutting-edge advancements has led us to the point where modern aircraft and airports are no longer mere enablers of our air travel and trade, but also beacons of our collective technological, economic, and geopolitical achievements.

It’s no wonder then that the world expects a lot from the air transport and aerospace sectors, or that it looks to them to evolve and adapt both faster and better than other industries. The excitement and imagination at the heart of everything we do place a distinct onus on aviation sector leaders to continuously innovate.

A revolution in aviation innovation

This explains in part why in the world of aircraft design and manufacture, nothing short of a revolution is now occurring. We’re witnessing the emergence of entirely new aircraft types, designed for completely new types of operations, and with every new innovation that emerges, so too does an astounding new range of possibilities for companies and communities.

In the word of aircraft design and manufacture, nothing short of a revolution is now occuring.

The electrification of smaller aircraft and fleets is already underway, including among the pioneers at Harbour Air here in Canada, and recent R&D advances have been highly promising in terms of making electric or hydrogen propulsion options a nearer-term reality for larger passenger jets as well. 

Modern commercial aircraft are already 80 per cent more fuel-efficient than the first jets to enter service, but with these latest energy and propulsion and many other innovations coming to the fore, I have every confidence that nation states and industry operators will fully achieve their ambitious targets for carbon neutral or ‘NetZero’ international civilian flight by 2050.

A new ICAO for the new normal in aviation and aerospace

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) advises, guides, and facilitates the work of world governments as they collaborate at the multilateral level to agree on and attain these targets. We also develop the global strategies and capacity-building programs to help ensure that new aviation performance capabilities can be implemented safely, securely, and sustainably. 

We’re working and transforming at every level in our specialized UN agency today to assure that countries, and the expert groups we organize for them, can more quickly and diligently standardize cutting-edge advances for aligned global deployment.

Canada’s aerospace sector has consistently ranked among the top five in the world, and it has been recognized since the dawn of international civilian flight as an important aviation leader in aircraft design and manufacture. 

More recently, we’ve seen its leadership exemplified through the important Safer Skies Initiative, which is working to help improve the international collaboration and risk management approaches governing airspace in conflict zones.

ICAO looks forward to working closely with Canada and other countries to help accelerate the pace of innovation in our sector, and to providing them with the multilateral support and mechanisms they need to connect our world more sustainably and efficiently, to the benefit of all people. 

To learn more, visit icao.int.

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