ICAO's new chief pledges to work for better, safer aviation

Updated: 2015-03-12 14:07


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ICAO's new chief pledges to work for better, safer aviation
Liu Fang

MONTREAL - The newly elected chief of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) pledged on Wednesday morning to work for better and safer aviation of the world.

Liu Fang, a Chinese air-safety expert and former official, was elected Wednesday secretary-general of the aviation arm of the United Nations, succeeding Frenchman Raymond Benjamin, whose second three-year term expires at the end of July 2015.

"I thank all my ICAO colleagues and I will work hard with my team for better and safer aviation of the world," Liu told Xinhua Wednesday morning.

Liu, currently director of ICAO's Bureau of Administration and Services, won 19 out of 36 votes. There other candidates are from Australia, India and the United Arab Emirates.

Liu will be the first woman to lead the ICAO, which has 191 member countries and sets non-binding safety standards for carriers and regulators.

Educated in China and the Netherlands, Liu had worked for China's civil aviation authority before joining ICAO in 2007. She also speaks English and French. From Aug 1, 2015, she will take the reins of the 71-year-old agency.

The ICAO, a UN specialized agency founded in 1944 and headquartered in Montreal, Canada, sets safety standards and rules for air transport. It has no direct enforcement role, but the results of its audits often prompt governments to enhance aviation budgets and adjust priorities.

The organization also serves as the premier clearinghouse for technical information about flight safety, airport facilities and air-traffic control procedures.