Phil Boyer, president of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA), told European air traffic control officials today that airliners aren't the only aircraft in the sky.
In a keynote speech for the second annual IAOPA Eurocontrol Aviation Day in Brussels, Belgium, Boyer said that Eurocontrol must not forget general aviation and aerial work (GA/AW) aircraft. Eurocontrol, which is hosting the event for GA pilots, provides ATC services for 30 European countries and is in the midst of an ambitious plan for improving services for its member countries. Planning so far has largely concentrated on the needs of airlines.
Boyer said that there are four times as many GA aircraft in Europe as airliners, and that they serve a multitude of purposes. "Aerial work" GA operators provide essential services such as agricultural application, air medical evacuation, law enforcement assistance, and executive transport.
GA/AW operators provide the training ground for new pilots, essential to avoid an airline pilot shortage in coming years. Boyer decried the high taxes and other costs that have already marginalized many GA/AW operators and asked for consideration of their needs when new avionics and other equipment requirements are imposed.
IAOPA affiliates represent the interests of general aviation and aerial work activities in 55 countries around the world. Its members comprise more than 400,000 pilots and aircraft operators.