With the launch of the Pacific Skies aviation magazine this year, the aviation sector in the Pacific has a new voice for communicating its news all around the globe.

The biannual magazine, jointly produced by the Association of South Pacific Airlines (ASPA) and the Secretariat of the Pacific community (SPC), was launched at the 56th General Session of ASPA in Nadi, Fiji yesterday.

Pacific Skies is a revival of ASPA's former South Pacific Aviation Magazine that ceased production in 2006. Under a new partnership arrangement, ASPA and SPC committed to bringing the magazine to life this year due to growing interest in aviation issues in the region.

The aviation sector has a significant footprint in the economies of the Pacific Islands region, supporting around USD 261 million (1.5%) of gross domestic product and 29,800 jobs (7700 directly supported) or 0.9% of the regional workforce.

Given the economic benefits tied to the aviation sector, regional agencies such as ASPA and SPC are making great efforts to address the needs of their members, including combining resources to implement cost-effective initiatives, such as the development of Pacific Skies.

ASPA, the peak airline association in the South Pacific representing the interests of 14 member airlines, together with 24 service provider members, signed a memorandum of understanding with SPC in May this year.

Speaking at the ASPA conference yesterday, John Hogan, Director of SPC's Economic Development Division, elaborated on SPC's emerging role in aviation.

'SPC's role in aviation is to support current efforts to develop safe, secure, reliable and affordable aviation transport services across its 22 Pacific Island members, especially smaller island states,' he said.

'Our work is guided by the Framework for Action on Transport Services, which was endorsed by Pacific transport ministers in April 2011 and calls for a "many partners, one team" approach to work undertaken by agencies.

'The Pacific Skies magazine is the first initiative resulting from the ASPA-SPC partnership and SPC will continue to work with ASPA as well as other aviation partners on initiatives of benefit to the region,' Mr Hogan said.

Welcoming the launch of the magazine, ASPA Secretary-General George Faktaufon urged ASPA members to use the magazine as a platform for sharing their experiences and best practices in the industry.

'This is an opportunity not to be missed. Aviation agencies have a chance to communicate their work widely through this regional magazine at zero cost,' Mr Faktaufon stressed. 'We look forward to the second issue, which will be published at the end of the year.'

The Pacific Skies magazine has an expected readership of over 900 covering Pacific member governments, industry, development partners, regional and international organisations and advertisers.