International Civil Aviation Day: Celebrating Past Aviation Pioneers, Present Aviation Achievements, And Future Aviation Potential

Today, we are determined to highlight the importance of civil aviation pursuits in global socioeconomic development.

International Civil Aviation Day dates back to the International Civil Aviation Convention, more commonly referred to as the Chicago Convention, which was signed on the 7th of December 1944. The Chicago Convention strived to promote and uphold peaceful air navigation across the world. Due to the Chicago Convention, the International Civil Aviation Organisation was formed on the 4th of April 1947.

Six months following the opening of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the United Nations announced the ICAO as their specialised aviation agency. The ICAO set precedents and guidelines that endeavoured to help nation states achieve uniformity in civil aviation regulations, standards, and procedures. Additionally, the ICAO aimed to develop international air transport, and enhance air navigation techniques.

International Civil Aviation Day was officially recognised by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996, under the resolution A/RES/51/33 and has been celebrated by all of us within the aerospace industry ever since!

Findings by the United Nations convey that the global Air Transport sector supports 65.5 million jobs, with over 10 million individuals working within the aerospace industry to ensure that 12 million passengers a day are carried safely to their destinations. The United Nations concludes that according to research by the Air Transport Action Group, at least 65.5 million jobs and 3.6% of global economic activity are supported by the aviation industry.

Today, we mark the present importance of civil aviation in creating a globally transit network, and the potential that the aviation industry holds in guiding us to a more prosperous, efficient, and sustainable future. The magic of aviation lies within its ability to adapt to our prospective needs and targets in a rapidly changing world; most notably to do with the environment and the safeguarding of our planet.

International Civil Aviation Day gives us all the opportunity to reflect upon the hard work of those within the aviation industry. Today, we think of those who face difficult challenges and demanding schedules every single day to ensure that mankind can travel safely and efficiently. Furthermore, International Civil Aviation Day encourages us to reinforce the importance of aviation as a catalyst for cross-cultural connectivity, economic prosperity, and globalisation. As the industry continues to develop and change – it is now more in need of personnel than ever.

Once every five years, the ICAO Council establishes a special theme for International Civil Aviation Day. Between these years, ICAO Council representatives select a single theme for the full four-year intervening period. The ICAO Council has decided that from now until 2023, the theme will be; Advancing Innovation for Global Aviation Development”.

Therefore, on this year’s International Civil Aviation Day, we turn our attention in particular towards global objectives to employ international flight as a fundamental enabler of global advancement and prosperity. This year’s International Civil Aviation Day endeavours to highlights the innovative ideas and new technologies brimming within the aerospace industry, to help us arrive at a better future. A principal example of this is the development of eVTOL and electrical aircraft, which offer incredible new capabilities for accelerating global connectivity whilst reducing harm to the environment. Overall, we must use today to contemplate the development of new technologies in aviation and recognise them as having a pivotal role in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, and the expansion of the aviation industry.

Additionally, International Civil Aviation Day encourages us to reflect upon and learn about the aviation pioneers of decades prior, who continue to inspire not only us, but future generations of aviators. We must remember the legacies of early aeronautical figures such as, James Glashier and Sophie Blanchard, who defied societal expectations to pursue their interests in meteorology and flight; their tenacity leading to further developments within aviation. A couple of decades before Glashier and Blanchard’s endeavours, the Montgolfier Brothers began manned flights within hydrogen balloons. They paved the way for the success of the Wright Brothers in creating powered and controlled flight during the Edwardian Era, by utilising propellers and an engine.

As the industry begins to advance, Charles Lindbergh claims the Orteig Prize for accomplishing the first nonstop flight between two cities, which in this case was New York to Paris in 1927. On the 2nd of July 1937, Amelia Earhart, the legendary female aviator and second person after Lindbergh to fly across the Atlantic solo, sadly disappears during her attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Earhart was an advocate for women in aviation, encouraged women to pilot aircraft, and promoted commercial aviation. To this day, Earhart’s bravery and determination continues to inspire many.

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Melissa Fleur Afshar

Content and Media Manager at British School of Aviation