General aviation serves the world.
That was the simple, yet remarkably complex message that Craig Fuller, AOPA president and president of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA) told the International Civil Aviation Organization’s recent meeting in Montreal.
The biggest threat facing GA worldwide, Fuller told the gathering, is not the global economic slump. “[T]he greatest challenge facing GA … comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of the value of general aviation, which in turn leads to inappropriate operating and equipment requirements, unreasonable fee structures, and impossible security regulations,” said Fuller.
Fuller explained how the new GA Serves America campaign, and other AOPA efforts, address those challenges. The campaign, Fuller said, “uses a combination of advertising and advocacy to tell the true stories of how general aviation aircraft and pilots serve all Americans, whether they fly or not.”
Fuller’s ICAO appearance came as Europe appears to be reversing years of policies by individual European countries that have stifled GA there. The European Parliament recently adopted a sweeping resolution, the Agenda for Sustainable Future in General and Business Aviation, which directs its regulatory agencies and member countries to invest in GA as a growing segment of their economies and transportation infrastructure.
“General aviation is an important part of the international aviation system and must be included in the process of developing and regulating that system. The aviation system includes aircraft, operating parameters, and missions of all types and sizes. Standards and guidelines must reflect those differences. Failure to do so could undermine general aviation and put an end to the many benefits it delivers to individuals and businesses around the world,” he said.
“I want to offer my personal pledge, along with that of IAOPA’s 480,000 members, to be part of the solution to the challenges we confront today and in the future. We are committed to working with the international community across all segments of aviation to ensure that the world’s aviation system functions efficiently and safely for all users.”
Fuller, along with IAOPA Secretary General John Sheehan, AOPA’s ICAO representative Frank Hoffman, and AOPA Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Andy Cebula participated in a day of meetings with ICAO officials to share GA’s views and areas of concern on multiple issues. This included meetings with President of the ICAO Council Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez, Vice President of the Air Navigation Commission Madeleine Deshaies, and ICAO representatives from other nations.
IAOPA represents more than 480,000 GA and aerial work pilots and aircraft operators through AOPA affiliates in 68 countries. It was formed in 1962 to provide a voice for GA in such international aviation forums as the International Civil Aviation Organization.