It is that time of year again: time for the largest annual worldwide gathering of professional airline pilots. Ever since its first edition in 1948 the event has been a platform for exchanging views on the latest issues affecting aviation. Now in its 68th year, the IFALPA Conference has again put the finger on the most urgent issues such as Contract Pilots, Safety Management and Aviation Regulations.
The IFALPA Conference is the main policy-making body of the Federation and this year it was hosted in Dublin by the Irish Airline Pilots' Association (IALPA). The meeting was preceded by lively discussions at the Global Pilots’ Symposium (GPS) on 11 April. The GPS offered insight and advice for pilot leaders on how to make sure their associations stay ahead of the challenges posed by the changing aviation environment and issues such as weak profits due to a volatile global economy, high fuel prices and fierce competition.
Region-specific developments were also discussed at the Conference. While the Gulf and Asia/Pacific Region are growing at an exponential rate, the African region continues to suffer the consequence of the Arab Spring revolution and North America’s aviation industry suffered the negative impact of Hurricane Sandy. In terms of safety, however, aviation has never been safer than in 2012 and the Caribbean/South America highlighted the strong safety performance in the region.
An important safety aspect was presented by ECA Vice-President Francis Nardy. He drew attention to the future European regulation of Flight Time Limitations and the determination of pilots as they demand science-based rules. He also highlighted the growing phenomenon of contract pilots and creative employment models across Europe.
The Conference introduced a brand-new IFALPA initiative: InterPilot Magazine, a bi-monthly publication, featuring in its launch edition, among others, a comprehensive article on the new Flight Duty Times in Europe. During the Conference, IFALPA also attributed its highest award, the Presidential Citation, to Ryanair’s longest-serving pilot, Captain John Goss for his professionalism as an airline pilot and exceptional commitment to the Ryanair pilot community.