The ABIS rotation group was founded in 1980 and today represents eight European States: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Portugal and Switzerland.
Common characteristics of these States are that their airspace is of the most heavily used in Europe; their main airports all cater to intercontinental air services and are the home base of major international airlines. This has led to the existence of a widespread expertise in aviation, but also a need to be proactive in international cooperation.
The Civil Aviation Authorities of the eight States cooperate closely with a view to fostering continued representation of the group through one of its members in the permanent bodies of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Since its formation in 1980, the ABIS Group’s candidate States have been successfully elected to the ICAO Council in Part 2 – States which make the largest contribution to the provision of facilities for international civil air navigation.
Today, the combined assessments of the eight Member States place the ABIS Group in the fifth rank of the contributors to the ICAO regular budget (5.45% in 2016).
The eight States jointly finance the ABIS Montreal office that accommodates the actual Representative on the Council and the Member of the Air Navigation Commission. The office employs a permanent administrative staff that ensures continued support and facilitates the communication between the eight States and ICAO.
All the details regarding the rotation and coordination mechanism, role of the Council Representative and Air Navigation Commissioner and sharing of costs are set out in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the eight States.
The ABIS rotation and coordination mechanism
Every three years at the Assembly the seat of the Group on the Council is rotated and the respective State seeks to become a member on the ICAO Council with the diplomatic support of the whole Group. A similar rotation principle applies to the ANC member, although the experts rotate in the middle of the triennium.
Coordination is provided on a regular basis before each Council session through coordination meetings in one of the ABIS States in order to formulate common positions for the ICAO Council and other relevant ICAO developments. During Council sessions, a more detailed coordination and consultation takes place via e-mail with the objective to represent the opinions of all eight States. On specific issues, ad-hoc meetings with the appropriate experts are organized by one of the States, i.e. to exchange information on the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) and to support each other with preparation for an audit.
After each Panel or Working Group meeting, the Council and ANC Member are briefed on the results by the participating ABIS expert to ensure up-to-date information.
The Council and ANC Member provide regular reports during Council sessions and a detailed report after each Council session on the results of meetings to all the eight States.
Objectives of the ABIS Group
To represent the interests of the ABIS Members on the ICAO Council and on the Air Navigation Commission through the appointment of qualified members;
To facilitate working relations between ABIS Members’ Government Administrations and the ICAO Secretariat;
To provide wide experience to ICAO Commissions, Panels and Working Groups by proactive participation of specialized experts;
To support the ICAO strategic objectives, in order to enhance safety, security, environmental protection and sustainable development of air transport;
To contribute to the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP), and the Universal Security Audit Programme (USAP) by seconding experienced auditors;
To familiarize trainees from ABIS Member States with the work of ICAO.
For more information on the ABIS Group, please consult our ABIS Magazine launched in May 2016. ABIS MAGAZINE 2016