An International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) mission to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has led to new developments and progress in the areas of aviation cybersecurity and innovation.
Accompanied by ICAO’s Regional Director for the Middle East, Mr. Mohamed Abu Baker Farea, ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano’s official visit to Dubai included the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with H.E Mohamed Al Gergawi Minister of UAE Cabinet Affairs formalizing a new ICAO-UAE partnership for institutional development and experience exchange. It will see the two parties collaborating more intensively and sharing their knowledge and experience in terms of accelerators, innovation in future civil aviation, and cybersecurity.
President Sciacchitano also took advantage of the Dubai mission to address the UAE’s High Level Conference on Cybersecurity in Civil Aviation, where he stressed among other priorities the need to account for and address ‘system of systems’ vulnerabilities arising from air transport network legacy hardware and software solutions.
The Council President further addressed how cyber attacks targeting civil aviation continued to increase during the pandemic period, despite the dramatic downturns in global operations, and stressed that ICAO’s cybersecurity activities had kept pace with them accordingly.
He noted that the recently established ICAO Cybersecurity Panel would be regularly reporting to the Council’s Aviation Security Committee, while conducting periodic reviews of the agency’s Aviation Cybersecurity Strategy and Cybersecurity Action Plan, assessing and reporting on the evolution of aviation cybersecurity threats and risks, and assisting inter alia in the development and review of guidance material and technical requirements.
“Going forward this will now assure convergence into a unified work programme of all cybersecurity and cyber resilience initiatives undertaken by the different expert groups in ICAO, thus enhancing the accountability, transparency, efficiency, and coordination of ICAO’s work in all related areas,” he underscored.
While on mission to Dubai, President Sciacchitano also held several bilateral meetings, including with H.E Abdullah Bin Touq Al Marri UAE Minister of Economy and Chairman of the General Civil Aviation Authority, H.E Hadi Abubakar Sirika Nigerian Minister of Aviation, and David Pekoske, Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration.