Home Aviation Personnel Reflecting on his first year: ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar

Reflecting on his first year: ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar


By Uniting Aviation

He had an incredibly busy and fulfilling year as Secretary General of ICAO, with a High-Level Conference on Covid recovery, two ICAO Council Sessions, a High-Level Meeting that delivered common ground on a Long Term Aspirational Goal of net zero aviation emissions by 2050, official visits to all ICAO Regional Offices and regions, and a new policy to enhance the delivery of support for the implementation of SARPs and global plans.

Last August Juan Carlos Salazar joined ICAO as an air law expert and CEO-Level civil aviation executive, with over 27 years of unique experience in international aviation negotiations, management and public policies. He has advanced degrees from Harvard University (Master in Public Administration – MPA) and McGill University (Master in Air and Space Law – LLM), is fluent in Spanish, English and French, and speaks basic Arabic.

Before joining ICAO, Mr Salazar served as Director General of Aeronautica Civil of Colombia – Aerocivil (2018-2021), and as Air Transport Advisor of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (2006 – 2018). He is known for his collaborative leadership style in multicultural, specialized international environments and is recognized for his communication and advocacy skills, coupled with teaching experience. With his international negotiation experience, he has further built and maintained excellent relations with a network of civil aviation organizations and authorities worldwide. Mr. Salazar has studied, worked and lived in South America, North America and the Middle East, and is comfortable interacting with persons of different backgrounds and cultures.

Mr. Salazar recently sat down with us to share his experiences during his first year as the Secretary General of ICAO.  Though it was a challenging time for civil aviation with the industry responding to the evolving pandemic, he focused on the transformation, the consensus, and the cooperation that took place throughout the global response and recovery. Going into this new role, he knew no country would be able to respond to a crisis like COVID-19 alone, and that the guidelines ICAO produced would assist civil aviation authorities, but he said it was a privilege to see the passion and dedication as the various teams in ICAO did everything they could to help support aviation’s recovery.

There were many ICAO accomplishments that stood out for him over this last year. Mr. Salazar took the time to highlight key priorities for the sector and he addressed what is next for the organization and aviation as we work together to reconnect the world. 

Mr. Salazar expressed his heartfelt appreciation for the incredible support and encouragement he received from colleagues at ICAO, the members of the ICAO Council, Industry Associations and member states.  As he explained in the interview, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and this is especially true for an organization like ICAO.”

After pointing to the reflection and discussions that need to take place to drive change, he pointed to the platform ICAO provides States to be able to work together for the purpose of attaining a common understanding on some of the most complex challenges that affect civil aviation today.


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