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Highlights from the 47th General Assembly

November 17th, 2017

IFATSEA’s 47th General Assembly was recently held from November 6 to 10 in Montreal, Canada.  In addition to welcoming new members, delegates heard from prominent speakers in each of the following areas: industry, government and international federations.

Delivering the keynote address, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO),  thanked IFATSEA for its contributions.  Specifically, Dr. Aliu was “very grateful for the crucial support of IFATSEA on our ICAO Manual on Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel Competency-based Training and Assessment (ICAO Doc 10057)” viewing it as a “major step” forward in the standardization of training.

Mr. David Cupples, President of the host association (IBEW Local 2228),  followed bringing greetings on behalf of the IBEW and reminded delegates that Montreal stands on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka people. Like ANSPs, he also highlighted the need for IFATSEA to focus on safety explaining that that it was IFATSEA’s reason for being.

Neil Wilson, President and CEO of NAV CANADA, brought greetings on behalf of the Assembly’s principle sponsor.  Mr Wilson pointed to the theme of the conference by underlining safety as NAV CANADA’s core product.  Moreover, he said aviation safety depends on “strong connections and collaborations”.  An example of this collaboration is the IBEW’s collaboration with NAV CANADA on a joint technical committee.  Mr Wilson then drew attention to NAV CANADA’s joint venture with Aireon which is set to completely revolutionize air navigation services. He closed with a reminder that technological innovations are necessary for a safer air navigation system.

Later in the plenary session, Mr Jean-Francois Lepage, IFATCA’s Liaison Officer to the ICAO Air Navigation Commission thanked ATSEPs for their contribution saying “Without ATSEPs, there wouldn’t be air traffic control.”  He reminded delegates that their will be new roles for ATSEPs as new systems and equipment come into use.  At the same time, ATSEPs are expected to at maintain if not improve their performance and safety levels. Mr Lepage went on to thank IFATSEA for its contribution to the ICAO NGAP Programme.

Finally, Mr. Gabriel Mocho Rodriguez of the International Transport Workers Federation addressed the Assembly.  Mr Rodriguez explained the role of the ITF and its ability to provide assistance to ATSEP’s in need of labour’s support.  Mr Rodriguez underlined the need for an ongoing and strong relationship between IFATSEA and the ITF.  Both organizations can learn from each other.

The Executive Board held a special session with chairs of the various sub-committees to discuss ways of making the sub-committees more effective.  These measures include the use of collaboration software and “webex” meetings.  The Executive Board committed to supporting the sub-committees as best as it can.  The Executive Board is already investigating different approaches to General Assemblies and Executive Board meetings which might help sub-committee accomplish more work.

The meeting continued later in the week with delegates accepting eight new members to the Federation. IFATSEA proudly welcomes ATSEP associations from the following states:

  • Angola
  • Cape Verde (Associate Membership)
  • Djibouti (Associate Membership)
  • Gambia
  • Jamaica
  • Luxembourg
  • Romania
  • South Africa

The Assembly closed with an announcement on the locations of the next General Assemblies.  L’Association Tunisienne des Electroniciens de la Navigation Aerienne (ATENA) and the Ghana Air Traffic Safety Electronics Association (GATSEA) will host the 48th (2018) and 49th (2019) General Assemblies respectively.

A full report of the General Assembly will be available in the coming weeks in IFATSEA’s E-LIbrary.

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