In a meeting last week with the President of Turkmenistan, Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliupledged support for the State's goal of establishing a regional transit and air freight hub in Ashgabat, while at the same time highlighting a number of priorities it should pursue to effectively manage future air traffic growth while optimizing the resulting socio-economic benefits.
"Turkmenistan is making good progress in support of its air transport sector today, and I have encouraged President Berdimuhamedov and his government to help ensure that its continuing progress proceeds in line with ICAO's global provisions for safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sustainable air transport," Dr. Aliu commented.
"Effective ICAO compliance is the most important foundation any State can establish as they seek to improve local prosperity through aviation's unique global connectivity."
In addition to his discussions with President Berdimuhamedov, Council President Aliu also had the opportunity to meet with the Deputy-Chairman of Turkmenistan's Cabinet of Ministers, Mr. B. Annameredov, and the Director of the State's "Turkmenhowayollary" Service and Head of its Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. D. Saburov.
The main topics discussed included President Aliu's request that Turkmenistan work in partnership with ICAO to deliver technical assistance, training and capacity building to Central Asian States in accordance with the UN agency's ongoing No Country Left Behind initiative, and in particular to Afghanistan. He also encouraged the State to establish suitable commitments and coordinate investments for its air transport infrastructure expansion and modernization, and noted that the country could count on ICAO's support towards the development of its new State Action Plan for air transport emissions reduction to help sustainably guide that growth.
He also recognized the efforts of Turkmenistan to participate in the ICAO Public Key Directory, which establishes the secure cryptographic foundation for modern e-Passport technologies, and sought the State's agreement for a future regional event in support of greater awareness of ICAO's Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) strategy.
The Council President concluded by suggesting that Turkmenistan should make appropriate preparations for its next ICAO aviation security oversight audit in 2018, that Turkmenistan pursue a more active role in the ICAO programme of activities, and that it ratify at its earliest opportunity the Beijing, Montreal, and Cape Town Conventions.
Dr. Aliu was accompanied throughout his Central Asian mission by the ICAO Regional Director for Europe and the North Atlantic, Mr. Luis Fonseca de Almeida.
Photo caption: The new Ashgabat International Airport