Transport and Works Minister Mike Henry was among officials who launched the International Conference for Air Service Negotiations (ICAN) 2010 at the Pegasus Hotel on Thursday, June 10.

The three year old conference which brings together members of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to sign a bilateral and regional air services agreements, was set up to provide member states with a central meeting place to conduct bilateral air services negotiations. The conference is geared to be rotated among the eight ICAO regions and was first held in the United Arab Emirates while the second was held in Turkey. The third one being hosted by Jamaica in Montego Bay is seen as a clear reflection of the worldwide reach of the event.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Mike Henry said, “Today, we are here to launch a very important new event on the national calendar this year, the ICAO Conference for Air Services Negotiations (ICAN). The hosting of this major international event in Jamaica is by no means a co-incidence, but was achieved through a highly focused and determined effort to significantly raise Jamaica’s air services profile globally, a policy which enjoyed the full backing of the Government of Jamaica.”

Continuing, the Minister said, “The contemporary global challenge is to liberalise the aviation sector worldwide, giving individual states the opportunity to legitimately establish direct air linkages to all other states. But with all the negotiations that it will take to eventually get there, if that is all attainable, it is for ICAO member states to press along through ICAN, to get more inter-connectivity worldwide, in the aviation industry.”

Among the benefits to be derived from the staging of ICAN 2010 are:

  • The promotion of efficiencies/cost saving in the aviation sector
  • The strengthening of relationships with other states
  • Establishment of new partnerships
  • The building of economic partnerships

As of May 12, 2010, 42 countries have registered to attend the conference which will be held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay. The conference which is being spearheaded by the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), will see other partners such as the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and the Ministries of Transport and Works and Foreign Affairs being involved.

Jamaica intends to secure as many agreements as possible but at minimum 7 or 8 Air Services Agreements. During the conference Jamaica will hold discussions with all countries that wish to have talks. Discussions are scheduled with approximately 30 or more countries with a view to updating current Agreements and/or brokering new ones.

Also speaking at the Press Launch were Director General of the JCAA, Col. Oscar Derby; Chairman of the JCAA, Mr. Y.P Seaton and JTB representative, Mr. Jason Hall, all of whom endorsed the event and pledged their support.