Joint workshop with ICAO EUR/NAT to exchange lessons learnt on developing National Facilitation Programmes

Written by Communications. Posted in News Updates

Athens, 12 March 2024 — The Joint ECAC – ICAO European and North Atlantic (EUR/NAT) Office workshop on National Facilitation Programmes and Committees took place in Athens on 12 March 2024. The event, hosted by Greece, heard opening remarks from Christos Tsitouras –  Director General of Civil Aviation, Greece (pictured above), David Benito (DGCA Spain) in his capacity as ECAC Focal Point for Facilitation, and Nicolas Rallo – Regional Director, ICAO EUR/NAT.

Mr Benito emphasised the challenge and complexity that States often faced in developing national facilitation programmes and committees, in the context of having to work across large numbers of stakeholders and in the rapidly evolving and expanding field of facilitation.

Representatives from ECAC Member States shared the lessons learnt during the COVID period and how they had applied these since to review and, where needed, restructure or rebuild their own national facilitation programmes. The importance of recognising factors outside of the aviation sector’s control was discussed and participants also received broader perspectives from invited speakers from the International Air Transport Association, Greece’s IHR Directorate of Preparedness and Response, Frontex and EUROCONTROL.

Conclusions of the event recognised common factors for successful National Facilitation Programmes, such as: effective and early information sharing; adaption of National Facilitation Committees to fit national needs and to provide benefits for the State as a whole; and ensuring there is clear understanding about all stakeholders and their ICAO Annex 9 roles and responsibilities. It was agreed that as there remain plenty of challenges for States under this topic, consideration would also be given to a follow-up event to share further experiences and gauge progress over the next year or two.

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