Aviation industry plays a vital and significant role in the world’s economic and social development as it is one of the main influential globalisation component in connecting the world through the movement of people, services and goods. In 2019, universal air transport carried 4.5 billion people and 61.2 million metric tonnes of goods. In a message in conjunction with the International Civil Aviation Day 2020, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof, Minister of Transport and Infocommunications said this achievement involved 87.7 million employees who serve the industry directly or indirectly, contributing to the Gross Domestic Product by 3.5 trillion American Dollars or 4.1 per cent of the world economy.
The theme for the International Civil Aviation Day 2020 for 2020 to 2023 is Advancing Innovation for Global Aviation Development. The Minister of Transport and Infocommunications said the theme is inline with the country’s aspiration as included in the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 namely to become a Smart Nation through Digital Transformation that is hoped to spur and improve the country’s socio-economic growth.
According to Yang Berhormat, the application of modern innovation and technology in the aviation industry plays a key role in helping to improve the level and quality of aviation safety. This is because safety can affect the public’s trust and confidence in choosing air transport as a safe and efficient mode of transport. Hence, the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications through the Department of Civil Aviation will always ensure that flight and aeroplane safety levels are according to the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO’s guideline.
The Minister of Transport and Infocommunications stressed that various efforts have been implemented by the Department of Civil Aviation to ensure the level and security of aviation safety through the use of modern technology. This includes the use of the latest security system, namely the Safety Management System; upgrade the Communications Navigations Surveillance/Air Traffic Management System to improve the performance level of the Air Navigation System; and enhance monitoring capabilities through the use of Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast technology, where Brunei Darussalam is one of the countries in the ASEAN region that implements the technology.
In 2016, the ACI World Traffic Forecasts targeted an increase of passenger traffic at a rate of 4.5 per cent starting 2017 to 2040. However, Yang Berhormat said the impact of COVID-19 has a significant effect on the global air traffic target profile with a sharp drop in 2020.
According to the International Air Transport Association’s prediction, the Minister explained that air traffic for 2020 has dropped by 66 per cent compared to the previous year. Despite the decrease, air freight is expected to increase and almost equal to the 2019 record. By 2021, it is predicted to grow by 61.2 million metric tonnes compared to 61.3 million metric tonnes in 2019. Meanwhile, the number of global tourists from January to May 2020 decreased by 56 per cent.
In Brunei Darussalam, as with other countries, the aviation industry is one of the industry that is experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic directly. According to air traffic statistics for January to October 2020, total air passenger movement was 416,012, a drop by 76.54 per cent from the same period last year. Meanwhile, air freight stumbled by 58.24 per cent from 8,605 metric tonnes until October 2019.
Yang Berhormat stressed that the impact of COVID not only significantly affects passenger traffic, aviation and air freight, but also the social and economy that are generated from these activities. Among the sectors that indirectly experience this effect is the tourism and hotel sector, as well as other related industries.
Yang Berhormat said at the regional level, efforts to introduce new normal was discussed at the ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting on the 24th and 25th of November. Several initiatives have been adopted, including the re-opening of the civil aviation sector in stages by taking into account the current development and situation of the COVID-19 pandemic; facilitate travel within ASEAN member states through initiatives such as the introduction of ‘Travel Bubbles’; and specific initiatives to ensure the resilience of transport sectors in the ASEAN region towards facilitating the movement of goods or air cargo network specifically for basic necessities.
The Minister also underlined that air transport plays a vital role as the catalyst for social development and generate the country’s economic growth. The Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications with the cooperation of various parties through the Whole of Nation Approach will always ensure and prioritise the best safety level for the well-being of airport users, aside from improving the public’s level of confidence through innovative and technological projects, in line with the direction to achieve the Smart Nation vision through Digital Transformation by 2025.
Source: Radio Television Brunei