The 38th Session of the International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly convenes in Montreal this week. For the first time since losing its ICAO seat in 1971, Taiwan has been invited to attend the assembly, and will do so under the name “Chinese Taipei.” As an integral part of the global aviation network, we reiterate our commitment to ICAO standards and look forward to further meaningful participation in ICAO meetings, mechanisms and activities.
Taiwan is located in the busiest section of airspace in East Asia. Its major hub, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, is one of the busiest airports in the region. It was ranked 16th globally in international passenger traffic by Airports Council International in 2012, and a total of 58 domestic and foreign airlines connect Taiwan with 117 cities across the world.
The Taipei Flight Information Region (FIR) each year provides more than 1.3 million navigation services to aircraft carrying 45 million passengers and over 1.68 million tons of cargo. In 2011, Taiwanese airlines carried 15.9 billion ton-kilometers of passengers, freight and mail. The large volume of cargo and passenger traffic makes Taiwan an important part of the global air transport network.
For more than four decades, due to the lack of direct contact with ICAO, Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration has had to make an extra effort to adhere to constant updates of the organization's flight safety and security standards. Although we have an excellent record in keeping our systems current, learning about the latest ICAO standards has often been a long and costly process.
International support for Taiwan's meaningful participation is greatly appreciated. In order to ensure its compliance with the latest aviation safety standards and work with the global community for improvement of the quality and efficiency of air travel throughout the world, Taiwan has for many years strived to participate in ICAO. Our call for inclusion in the organization has been acknowledged around the world. Many important aviation sector officials have publicly endorsed our bid for inclusion in ICAO, and we are grateful for their support.
We believe our participation in this year's ICAO Assembly will allow us not only to closely observe deliberations and gain a better understanding of various aviation issues, but also to contribute to global endeavors to ensure the safety, convenience and efficiency of international air transport.
Taiwan is ready to share with the world its rich experience. It can contribute to regional and global aviation safety by sharing its advanced aviation technologies. One example is the CNS/ATM (communications, navigation and surveillance air traffic management) system proposed by ICAO in the late 1980s for development of a globally coordinated system of air navigation services to cope with the worldwide growth in air traffic demand.
CNS/ATM involves a complex and interrelated set of technologies largely dependent on satellites. For a decade, Taiwan made tremendous investments in human resources and equipment to develop the system and find solutions to technical problems as they emerged. Taiwan was the first Asian country to put the system into service—in 2011. The system has given our nation increased air services efficiency, and we believe our know-how and experience gained in developing and operating the system provides an excellent resource for other countries.
Taiwan's participation in the 38th Session of the ICAO Assembly brings us one step closer to reaching the association's goal of a seamless sky. Regular participation of Taiwan's experts and officials in ICAO meetings, mechanisms and activities would also be very constructive in this regard.
If Taiwan gains access to ICAO's Standards and Recommended Practices, we will be able to incorporate them into our aviation safety and security regulations in a much more timely and comprehensive manner. Our technical knowledge and skills also can be shared with the international civil aviation community. Together, we will work toward our common goal: safe, orderly and sustainable development of international civil aviation that promotes the welfare of all.