From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, ECAC was committed to supporting its Member States during this unprecedented crisis.

ECAC hosted European coordination meetings via videoconference from 17 March 2020, bringing together the Directors General of the 44 ECAC Member States, the European Commission, EASA and EUROCONTROL.

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External relations

The principal focus of ECAC's activities are ECAC States themselves, yet Directors General recognise the importance of external relations, and the need for the organisation to build on its core strengths, particularly its ability to engage with regional bodies and establish partnerships.

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Safety and accident investigations

Originally, safety was one of the cornerstones of ECAC activities. The Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) were established by ECAC in 1990 in order to set uniform high safety standards within Europe and to unify the then multiple safety aviation certification procedures. After the establishment of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) that took over JAA functions, ECAC safety activities were reduced in order to prevent overlaps or duplication.

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Aviation security is a core activity of the European Civil Aviation Conference. ECAC's work in this area focuses on ensuring security measures are in place to protect civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference.

Aviation security measures are described in ECAC Doc 30, Part II (Security), a policy statement adopted by all 44 ECAC Member States.

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Improving the passenger's experience and facilitating legitimate trade are key objectives of ECAC's activities in the field of facilitation. As the significance of facilitation and international aviation has developed since the COVID-19 pandemic, so has ECAC expanded its focus in this field.

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ECAC has established environment as one of its key priorities, conscious that the environmental impacts of the aviation sector must be mitigated if aviation is to continue to be successful as an important facilitator of sustainable development.

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Economic matters

ECAC activities in the economic field aim at promoting an economically efficient, sustainable and competitive European air transport sector.

Through the Economic Working Group established in 2016, ECAC supports the understanding on economic issues of common interest to the aviation community within ECAC. This includes transversal matters, such as economic aspects relating to societal and environmental changes (for example, workforce and environmental sustainability).

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The Istanbul Declaration issued at the end of the conference held in June 2010 acknowledged ECAC's important role in ensuring that training is given adequate priority in the continued drive for safe, secure and green air transport in Europe. It agreed that a greater emphasis on competency-based training could best achieve this objective. It led to the adoption of the ECAC Training Policy at DGCA/135 (December 2010).

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Legal matters

ECAC's legal activities support the work in other fields of civil aviation such as safety, environment and security. 

Established in 1996, the Legal Task Force examines legal issues and develops proposals on various legal issues related to the role and various activities of ECAC.

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Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are creating a new industry with large economic potential. Over the past years, the civil UAS sector has experienced significant and exponential growth, with a strong impact on traditional aviation systems and on shaping innovation in aviation. It is within this context that ECAC Member States are being challenged with the safe, secure and efficient integration of UAS into environments shared by a highly regulated and well-established, manned aircraft industry.

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Artificial intelligence (AI)

More and more data are digital, and information technology evolves fast and continuously in all domains of activities of our societies. This has growing impacts on the aviation sector.

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Communication for civil aviation

In July 2021, the ECAC Network of Communication Specialists (NETCOM) was established with the objective to foster cooperation and enhance the effectiveness of ECAC Member States' communication capabilities through the sharing of knowledge, experience, and best practices in the field of communication for civil aviation (including, for example, handling media requests and guidelines for spokespersons, crisis communication, intercultural communication, communication training needs, etc.).

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Diversity, equity and inclusion

Among the ECAC diversity-related activities is the creation by the Secretariat of an e-library dedicated to Directors General of Civil Aviation in ECAC Member States and their experts dealing with diversity, equity and inclusion matters in their administrations. This e-library includes reference documents (such as national strategies, European policies, studies and articles) on diversity, equity, inclusion, and mentoring programmes.

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