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SARI 15th Steering Committee Meeting, Colombo, Sri Lanka

March 18, 2024


On 18th March 2024, the 15th Steering Committee Meeting (SCM) of the South Asia Regional Initiative (SARI) was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The meeting was attended by delegations from all seven SARI member states: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Four of the delegations were represented by their DGs, Air Vice Marshal H. M. S. K. B. Kotakadeniya, CAA Sri Lanka, Mr. Hussain Jaleel CAA Maldives, Mr. Khaqan Murtaza CAA Pakistan and Mr. Muhammad Mafidur Rahman, CAA Bangladesh. The meeting was chaired by the SARI chairman, Mr. Abdulla Mohamed, Director Airworthiness, CAA Maldives. The Project Manager for the EU-South Asia Aviation Partnership Project (APP) from EASA, Mr. Carlos Menendez; EASA Acting Executive Director, Mr. Luc Tytgat; EASA Strategy & Safety Management Director, Ms. María Rueda; SARI Vice Chairman, Mr. Rayhan Wanniappa; Deputy Project Manager Mr. Adam Gonda; Mr. Mahmood Razee, Project Director; Mr. Muhammad Zahid Bhatti, SARI coordinator; Ms. Spela Jurgele, SARI support expert and Ms. Romany Lawrence Hewa, Project Office Coordinator, were also among the Participants of the meeting. 

The main objectives of the activity were to present SARI Member States (MS) with a comprehensive overview of SARI's achievements and the implementation progress of the previous SARI Work Plans. It also aimed to gather feedback from SARI MS concerning SARI support, their future requirements, and their perspectives on the future trajectory of SARI. Additionally, the activity aimed to provide updates to Member States on WP 24 and its approval, fostering discussions on future strategies, sustainability of initiatives through funding, and presenting a proposed financial model, alongside exploring possibilities for further extension of the EU-SA APP. Furthermore, one of the meeting’s goals was to facilitate the sharing of success stories and experiences among participating Member States (MS), underscoring the significance of cooperation among SARI MS and reflecting on the progress made to date.

Following the welcome addresses, Mr. Mahmood Razee, the Project Director provided a brief recap of the previous SARI SCM and highlighted the satisfaction of SARI MS with the accomplishment of objectives and successful outcomes of the project. He stressed the significance of states adopting EASA regulations and highlighted the benefits they bring to them. SARI coordinator, Mr. Muhammad Zahid Bhatti highlighted the key accomplishments of the SARI Work Plans. EASA Acting Executive Director, Mr. Luc Tytgat, stressed the importance of the collective approach to assist SARI Member States to achieve SARI objectives and the significance of the continuation of the project. He highlighted the challenges of coping with more demanding cooperation today, lessons learned after the pandemic aviation challenges and pressures on the civil aviation system due to the global situation. 

Mr. Carlos Menendez, Project Manager, shared his SARI experience and dynamic project approach, identified existing gaps, and discussed openly with SARI Member States (MS) about the sustainability of the project and financial model, taking into account their needs and the potential for project extension.

Towards the conclusion of the event, there was also a discussion concerning possible financial contribution of SARI States in order to continue the initiative. The meeting concluded with closing remarks delivered by the SARI Chairman, SARI coordinator, EASA Executive Director, EASA Strategy & Safety Management Director and the Project Manager of the EU-SA APP II. 

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