Speech by CE at Signing Ceremony for the Collaboration between Hong Kong International Aviation Academy and Ecole Nationale de l'Aviation Civile (English only) (with photos)
Jack (Chairman of the Airport Authority Hong Kong, Mr Jack So), President Houalla (President of Ecole Nationale de l'Aviation Civile, Mr Marc Houalla), Consul General (Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, Mr Eric Berti), government colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. I am pleased to be here today, witnessing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on collaboration with the renowned French National School of Civil Aviation. A collaboration between the French aviation organisation - ENAC for short - and Airport Authority Hong Kong, acting on behalf of the new Hong Kong International Aviation Academy.
This welcome partnership is a result of a visit I made, half a year ago, to France and the city of Toulouse, one of the world's great aerospace and aviation capitals. Accompanying me on that mission were the Secretary for Transport and Housing and the Secretary for Innovation and Technology of the Hong Kong Government.
In Toulouse, I visited ENAC and was very impressed with what I saw. It is, of course, Europe's leading and largest aeronautical university. An institution with partnerships all over the world, including collaborations with China's Tsinghua and Beihang universities, the Civil Aviation University of China, as well as our own Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, ENAC is the partner we need to accelerate Hong Kong's aviation development.
The aviation industry has been crucial to the success of Hong Kong and its economic development. It will remain so, much more so, when the Hong Kong International Airport's Three-Runway System is completed in about eight years' time.
With infrastructure coming together, and the continuing development of the aviation industry, we will need more talent - if we are to maintain our competitiveness as a key international aviation hub. That means building up a sustainable talent pool of top-quality professionals in every aspect of aviation.
Our local universities are already offering programmes in aviation and aeronautical engineering, but we are certainly in need of more. That was why, in my Policy Address this year, I announced that the Airport Authority would establish a civil aviation academy to nurture aviation management talent.
The Academy is, I am pleased to say, beginning to do so now - it will offer its first courses starting next April. And thanks to the agreement we celebrate on this occasion, the Academy and ENAC will launch an Advanced Master in Air Transport Management programme. I look forward to many more collaborations in the years to come.
With ENAC's help, the Academy will attract practitioners from the region as well as local students. In particular, in the Mainland of China, aviation professionals will be in rising demand as the country makes great strides in aviation and aerospace. China launched its first microgravity satellite in April, and the world's first quantum satellite in August. And it plans to build 66 new airports over the next five years, raising the number of airports in the Mainland of China to 272.
Hong Kong, as the "super-connector" between the rest of China and the rest of the world, is well positioned to supply such talents. Under "one country, two systems", we are part of China and enjoy the "China advantage". And at the same time, we maintain a separate economic and social system, with a highly cosmopolitan society and worldwide connections with the international community. We are an ideal aviation hub - an aviation education hub - for students from Hong Kong, the Mainland of China, Belt and Road countries, and all over the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, I congratulate the Academy, the Airport Authority and ENAC on this strategic and opportune collaboration - one that builds on the close and strong ties between Hong Kong and France. Indeed, we will be holding the next round of air services consultation in just a few weeks. I wish the consultation success, and look forward to a fruitful outcome on traffic rights expansion discussions.
Ends/Friday, December 16, 2016
Issued at HKT 17:04
Issued at HKT 17:04