Speaking at this year’s Canadian Business Aviation Association Convention in Montreal, ICAO president Dr. Assad Kotaite said, “The very constructive relationship that exists between ICAO and the International Business Aviation Council is based largely on our common objective of improving aviation safety. The expanding business aviation community, with more than 20,000 aircraft, represents a growing proportion of aircraft movements [with] the responsibility of contributing progressively to the safety and efficiency of the world’s congested airspace and airports.”
Kotaite was addressing a special membership dinner, where he and a number of senior ICAO officials were the guests of CBAA and IBAC, a few days after ICAO had officially received IBAC’s international standards for business aircraft operations. Kotaite noted that “this practical and valuable code of best practice will...improve the already excellent safety record of business aviation while at the same time accelerate the implementation of global harmonized safety standards, another of our mutual objectives.”
Separately, CBAA president Rich Gage told convention attendees that the association had completed another year of growth with the addition of a further 25 members, moved into new offices and successfully met all the fiscal goals established by the organization’s board of directors. In addition, progress was moving ahead with CBAA’s business aviation operational safety standard system (BA-OSS), under which CBAA on January 1 will take over Transport Canada’s role as the certification agency for Canadian business aviation.
BA-OSS certification criteria will remain generally unchanged, but with less bureaucratic detail. The standard will cover all aspects of flight operations, excluding maintenance but including pilot proficiency and instrument rides, all of which will be periodically checked by independent auditors, selected jointly by the association and Transport Canada. Auditor selection and training will begin this summer, with Canada-wide auditor coverage expected before year-end.
Gage also announced that Canada Customs had reinstated its Canpass program, which had been withdrawn following September 11. Canpass allows prescreened Canadian corporate aircraft, their crews and passengers to return from the U.S. without physically clearing customs at an official entry point. But as a member of Canada’s newly formed aviation security advisory committee, Gage cautioned that security remains “a major challenge domestically and internationally, as non-aviation people with little or no knowledge of the complexity of the aviation industry have control of the yoke.”
Attendees were offered several operational and technical presentations, including one given by Charlie LeBlanc of Air Security International of Houston. LeBlanc’s data clearly demonstrated that the worldwide terrorist threat had not diminished since September 11 but had in fact increased. LeBlanc urged attendees to coordinate their flight operations activities with corporate security staff, and proposed several steps to enhance security when away from home base, particularly overseas.