General aviation is vital to civil aviation around the world as the incubator for future generations of pilots. That was the message from the Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to delegates attending the 25th biennial World Assembly of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA), in Tel Aviv, Israel, recently. In a pre-recorded video welcome, Raymond Benjamin confirmed ICAO’s recognition of GA’s value, adding, “We welcome IAOPA’s long-time participation in ICAO’s deliberations.”
Opening the biennial gathering, IAOPA President Craig Fuller, who also serves as president and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association in the United States, told delegates, “The decisions we make and the challenges we address here affect not only us and our IAOPA members, they affect the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who are employed thanks to general aviation. We must acknowledge the challenges we face. But we do so with the knowledge that general aviation is strong. Its advocates are passionate. And together we can successfully manage these challenges and any others that come our way.”
Over the course of the weeklong gathering, delegates addressed issues ranging from flight training and pilot certification to aircraft certification to protecting airports.
Delegates approved a resolution submitted by AOPA-Botswana that seeks to address the cost of flight training in nations with user fee-funded air traffic control systems by calling on those nations to eliminate landing and navigation fees for flight training operations. Several other resolutions calling for member nations to protect their airport infrastructure also passed.
The delegates also addressed a potential issue for pilots as nations, especially in Europe, seek to harmonize their regulations regarding pilot certification. The delegates took action to try to ensure that pilots who hold current valid certificates do not lose those certificates due simply to a change in regulatory language.
As the World Assembly concluded, Fuller noted that delegates had passed a number of resolutions that will affect the course of general aviation for years to come. He charged the group to continue their advocacy in their State’s and with regional authorities.
“IAOPA’s growth, and the strong relationships and credibility we have earned with aviation authorities around the globe, are a testament to the power of standing together and of standing up for GA,” Fuller told the assembly. “I want to thank each of you for your commitment to those ideals and your willingness to work to create a vibrant future for general aviation.”
IAOPA was founded in 1962 to provide a voice for general aviation in international aviation standards and practices. Since then, the organization has grown from five affiliates — South Africa, the Philippines, Canada, Australia, and the United States — to 68 affiliates representing 470,000 members around the world. IAOPA has been an accredited representative to ICAO since 1964.