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Today (7 December 2021), marks International Civil Aviation Day. This day recognises aviation's vital role in boosting development, of connecting the world, and providing millions of passengers with unforgettable memories. The important role aviation has come to play in our lives has never been more evident than during the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic has been the most challenging period for the international travel and aviation sector in its history. We at the UK Civil Aviation Authority are acutely aware of how difficult these past 20 months have been for everyone across the travel industry, including travel providers, airports and airlines as well as passengers, holidaymakers, and everyone else involved in the aviation sector, directly or indirectly.

While there has been a recovery in demand through this year - with a 300% increase in passenger numbers in the last quarter - passengers are still down by almost three quarters compared to pre-pandemic levels.

As we look forward, there are still challenging times ahead, not least as we seek to adapt to the latest uncertainties brought about by omicron. However, as demand for travel does return, we all need to remain focussed on facilitating a safe and secure recovery. Part of this recovery includes taking the opportunity to consider the environment and sustainability - our greatest long-term strategic challenge.

As the UK's aviation regulator, we recognise our significant part in enabling the recovery of the UK's world-leading aviation and aerospace sector. We understand that the industry needs consumers to feel confident and empowered to travel once again. We are reinforcing everyday our strong and positive working relationships with the sector and across UK Government. And I'm proud that colleagues across the CAA continue to work tirelessly across our responsibilities of safety, security and consumer protection.

Sir Stephen Hillier
Chair
UK Civil Aviation Authority

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