GATCO has taken part in the 2018 IFATCA Annual Conference in Accra, Ghana. The delegation representing the UK was formed of 4 GATCO members: Mark Taylor (Deputy President), Jez Pigden (Vice President Policy), Chris Stock (Director) and James Robinson. The Annual Conference is effectively the Annual General Meeting of all the IFATCA Member Associations, where directors and delegates from almost 130 countries discuss the rules and policies of the Federation and provide direction to the IFATCA Executive Board in the current ATM and ATC climate for the following 12 months.

The conference is divided in three committees, A, B and C, each one dealing with different aspects of IFATCA and our profession. This year’s theme was “Making the Future Ours”.

Committee A

Committee A deals with the aspects that keep an organisation like IFATCA in motion: administration, constitutional and financial affairs. Mark Taylor was once again the Secretary of Committee A. This year’s discussions saw the acceptance of Argentina, Morocco and the Philippines as new member associations, but also saw the departure of Moldova. Five positions on the Executive Board were filled, including the re-election of the current President Mr Patrik Peters, along with the appointment of Liaison Officers to organisations such as ICAO, Eurocontrol and the European Union.

The working papers of both the Constitutional and Administration Committee (CAC) and the Financial Committee (FIC) were presented to delegates. The most discussed papers concerned the abolition of the Executive Vice President Finance role and the merger of CAC and FIC into one standing committee, both of which will be explored further during the year. Election of members to both CAC and FIC took place and the UK will have representation on both.

Playa Conchal in Costa Rica was confirmed as next year’s venue for the Annual Conference, while proposals were received from Singapore for 2020, Jamaica in 2021 and possibly the UK in 2022.

Committee B

Committee B deals with the technical and operations matters of the profession which are discussed during the year within the Technical and Operations Committee (TOC). James Robinson represented GATCO and the UK in Committee B and was also the Secretary of both Committee B and the European Region session. TOC is tasked by the Member Associations to investigate, analyse and propose policy on evolving ATM and ATC topics like the integration of drones or remote towers.

One key topic at this year’s conference of significant relevance to GATCO and our membership was Remote Towers. We are all familiar with the desire to progress solutions at an ever accelerated pace. IFATCA’s continued engagement in the process at national and international levels is key to producing viable and effective concepts that deliver for airports, airspace users and air traffic personnel alike.

A potentially less publicised but crucial aspect of Committee B’s work is the extensive ICAO representation it provides. IFATCA is privileged to be an active and valued contributor to evolving policy within ICAO, with representatives in the following groups:

  • Air Navigation Commission (ANC)
  • Aerodrome Design and Operations Panel (ADOP)
  • Air Traffic Management Operations Panel (ATMOPSP)
  • Air Traffic Management Requirements and Performance Panel (ATMRPP)
  • Competency-Based Training and Assessment Task Force (CBTATF)
  • Flight Operations Panel (FLTOPSP)
  • Operational Datalink Working Group (OPDLWG) of the Communications Panel (CP)
  • Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Panel (RPASP)
  • Safety Management Panel (SMP)
  • Separation and Airspace Safety Panel (SASP)
  • Surveillance Panel (SP)

Committee C

Committee C deals with the professional and legal matters of the profession, work carried out by the Professional and Legal Committee (PLC) during the year. Jez Pigden was representing the UK as a corresponding member of PLC and was also Secretary of Committee C. Among the topics in Committee C this year was a paper on applying duty of care principles to the concept of ‘over servicing’ – where aircraft outside controlled airspace are given an air traffic service above the one agreed. There was also a review paper on worldwide colour vision deficiency testing which came about after a request from a GATCO member.

Seventeen member associations stood for election to PLC, and the UK was elected to be a full member of PLC for the next 12 months.

Conference photos can be found here.