Vol. 36, No. 2 (Summer 2011)
The Role of Civil Aviation Safety and Security in the Economic Development of Pacific Island Countries
Macquarie University, Australia
Civil aviation is vital to the economic development of Pacific Island Countries (PICs), and the regulation of its safety and security has been identified by Australia and New Zealand as important to protect the Pacific region from unlawful acts, including from terrorism. Since 9/11, the Australian government has supported initiatives such as the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) to guard against the threat of terrorism. This has involved increasing compliance of PICs with international civil aviation safety and security standards. Although terrorism remains a security concern for Australia, it is no longer the primary national security concern, and as countries such as Australia and New Zealand reflect on their ongoing commitment to PASO, it is important to recognise that in addition to its contribution to counter-terrorism efforts PASO has the potential to contribute to economic development in the Pacific region by enhancing the ability of the region’s civil aviation system to support increased trade and tourism. PICs rely heavily on air transport links to gain access to international trade and tourism markets; however, access depends upon their ability to meet international civil aviation safety and security standards, which they cannot do independently.