The 2000 World Assembly of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA) took strong positions on issues of privatizing air traffic control systems, misuse of aviation fuel tax revenues, and regulations requiring unnecessary equipment in general aviation and aerial work (GA/AW) aircraft.
Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, September 25-29, delegates from AOPAs of 22 countries reviewed the recent progress of international general aviation and laid plans for future development of the GA/AW field.
IAOPA President Phil Boyer opened the assembly with a review of technology issues GA/AW faces around the world. He urged affiliate members to maintain their focus on general aviation's primary goal: to make flying ever safer, more useful, less expensive, and more fun.
A major resolution emerging from the assembly cautioned regulatory authorities of all nations contemplating "privatization" or "corporatization" of air traffic control (ATC) systems to consider carefully all safety, service, and accessibility implications of the change.
The assembly stressed the importance of evaluating these factors in relation to all users of the system, not just the airlines. And it reminded national regulatory authorities that they must exercise strong control and oversight of ATC services in the interest of safety.
Sir Malcolm Field, chairman of Britain's Civil Aviation Authority (counterpart of the U.S. Federal Aviation administrator), set the stage for the discussion of ATC privatization in an opening session address describing Britain's National Air Traffic System (NATS). On another topic, Sir Malcolm expressed support of moves to simplify training requirements and medical standards for the private pilot certificate.
Yves Lambert, director general of EuroControl, the coordinating body for all air traffic flow throughout Europe, expressed appreciation for general aviation's participation in the far-reaching EuroControl modernization plan, "ATM 2000+."
During the assembly's five days of debate, delegates dealt with a variety of topics vital to general aviation and aerial work interests around the world. The future of air navigation and guidance systems was prominent on the agenda, with presentations on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), the future needs of European airspace management, technology projects to improve air traffic surveillance on the ground as well as in the air, datalink for ATC communications, and a range of views and prospects on the ATC privatization issue.
The delegates also examined two perennial questions crucial to the future of general aviation: the continuing loss of airports to urban sprawl and commercial development and the need to attract new student pilots.
The assembly passed a series of resolutions growing out of these discussions. The resolutions are intended as guidance for IAOPA's affiliates in 54 countries, and as statements directed to world aviation authorities setting forth the aims and needs of general aviation and aerial work in the next two decades.
The resolutions stress:
The full text of these resolutions can be found online.
The 2000 IAOPA World Assembly was sponsored by AOPA-United Kingdom under the direction of Chairman George Done and Chief Executive Martin Robinson.
IAOPA represents the interests of more than 400,000 pilots and aircraft operators who are members of 54 national AOPA organizations around the world. Its principal objectives are to promote and protect the interests of general aviation and aerial work operators engaged in international aviation.
October 5, 2000