General aviation serves the world.
That was the simple, and yet remarkably complex, message that the president of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations delivered at Montreal on May 13 at a meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The biggest single threat facing general aviation worldwide, IAOPA President Craig L. Fuller told those gathered, is not the global economic slump. “[T]he greatest challenge facing GA … comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of the value of general aviation, which in turn leads to inappropriate operating and equipment requirements, unreasonable fee structures, and impossible security regulations,” said Fuller.
Fuller, who is also the president and chief executive officer of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, explained some of the steps AOPA is taking to address the current challenges, primarily through the recently launched General Aviation Serves America campaign. The campaign, Fuller said, “uses a combination of advertising and advocacy to tell the true stories of how general aviation aircraft and pilots serve all Americans, whether they fly or not.” His message to ICAO was that general aviation also serves the world.
Fuller’s appearance at the ICAO meeting came at a time when Europe appears to be reversing years of policies by individual European countries that have stifled general aviation on that continent. The European Parliament recently adopted a sweeping resolution, the Agenda for Sustainable Future in General and Business Aviation, which directs its regulatory agencies and member countries to invest in general aviation as a growing segment of their economies and transportation infrastructure.
“General aviation is an important part of the international aviation system, and must be included in the process of developing and regulating that system,” said Fuller. “The aviation system includes aircraft, operating parameters, and missions of all types and sizes. Standards and guidelines must reflect those differences. Failure to do so could undermine general aviation and put an end to the many benefits it delivers to individuals and businesses around the world.”
He concluded, “I want to offer my personal pledge, along with that of IAOPA’s 480,000 members, to be part of the solution to the challenges we confront today and in the future. We are committed to working with the international community across all segments of aviation to ensure that the world’s aviation system functions efficiently and safely for all users.”
IAOPA represents the interests of more than 480,000 general aviation and aerial work pilots and aircraft operators in 68 countries around the world. The Council was formed in 1962 to provide a voice for general aviation in world aviation forums such as the International Civil Aviation Organization.