The famous motto would perfectly apply to our association, with a further strength: the diversity of cultures, one the main features of a truly European team. Indeed, ECA is composed of 38,650 pilot members from 38 national associations - including 26 from the European Union - and ten different nationalities in the Executive Board and the Secretariat. This unity and diversity were noticed by Daniel Calleja and María Aránzazu Hernández from the European Commission, special guests of ECA's 2009 Budapest General Assembly, wonderfully hosted by the Hungarian Pilots' Association (HUNALPA).
The theme of this 2009 General Assembly was 'change'. First of all at the Member Associations level, with the addition of the Romanian Air Line Pilots' Union (ROALPU) and the, Ukrainian Air Line Pilots' Association (UALPA) as full and associate members respectively. Secondly, at the ECA Executive Board level, with the election on 26 November of Carlos Salas, Luis Bento and Riku Aakkula for the positions of Vice-President, Professional Affairs Director and Technical Director; and the election for a 2nd mandate as Admin & Finance Director of Timo Eckardt. Finally, at the staff level, with Kris Van der Plas – hired in early September – attending an ECA Conference for the first time.
On this Thanksgiving Day, it was time also for the ECA team to warmly thank, with a hint of nostalgia, the outgoing Directors for their strong commitment and great contribution to the work of ECA: Henk de Vries, Fran Hoyas and Heinz Frühwirth. Further thanks were given to HUNALPA, for their hearty welcome in their wonderful city. Last but not least, ECA also thanked Daniel Calleja for his presence and his analysis of the current European situation in aviation.