The inaugural meeting on AU-US Cooperation in Civil Aviation was held in Washington DC, USA on 18 December 2012. The Meeting was co-chaired by Ms. Susan McDermott, Deputy Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, US Department of Transportation (DOT) and Mr. Adiron Alberto, Senior Policy Officer (Air Transport), African Union (AU) Commission.
In attendance were Thirteen Officials from the US DOT, US State Department, US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), AU Commission, Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the African Airlines Association (AFRAA).
The main objective of the meeting was to explore areas of cooperation in the aviation field that would ultimately constitute a focused and concise cooperation framework and plan of action to be implemented within the overall AU-USA Partnership.
The discussion covered matters related to aviation safety, security, environmental protection, air transport policies, air law and regulations. The meeting was provided with overview regarding US aviation safety and security initiatives in Africa as well as policies and trends concerning air transportation between the United States of America and Africa. Furthermore, the Meeting was apprised of the implementation by African States of the African Civil Aviation Policy endorsed by the 18th AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in January 2012.
The AU Commission acknowledged the assistance that the US has been providing to Africa through its initiatives on aviation safety, security and environment in implementing various programmes such as “Safe Skies for Africa”. The AU Commission expressed its appreciation as regard to continuous growing trade between Africa and US due to US Government Accountability Office (GAO). The AU Commission indicated that the continent is enjoying the ever increasing number of US Tourists visiting African touristic destinations.
AFRAA shared the experience of African Airlines in terms of transcontinental air connectivity and its active participation in the promotion of international air law instruments of utmost interest to African Airlines such as the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and Protocol. In that regard, it was underscored that African Airlines are ready to contribute to the successful cooperation in aviation between the two regions.
In conclusion, the first consultation meeting provided fertile ground in developing a strong AU-USA common framework and plan of action on cooperation in aviation within the main frame of the AU-USA Partnership. It was agreed that the next round of consultation will take place during the 23rd Plenary Session scheduled in Accra, Ghana, from 2nd to 5th April 2013 and the third round of consultation is scheduled for Addis Ababa in July 2013.