The 78th Conference of the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) has opened in Mexico City.

Hosted by IFALPA and ASPA de México, the conference brings together the IFALPA Executive Board and hundreds of pilot leaders representing their national member associations from all regions of the world to deliberate on crucial decisions for the federation and present key activities and campaigns.

Invited to provide a state of the industry, Christopher Barks, ICAO Regional Director North American, Central American, and Caribbean discussed the history and 80th anniversary of ICAO, problems and issues around the introduction of the concepts of Reduced Crew Operations, (RCO), and Single Pilot Operations (SiPO), new challenges of integration of new UAS+ technologies and stakeholders into shared airspace, and meteorological issues and turbulence in the context of climate change.

Highlighting the importance of IFALPA’s strategic partnerships in the world of work, Gilbert F. Houngbo, Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) addressed the opening plenary underscoring the unprecedented challenges faced by the aviation sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighting the need for sustainable and just recovery policies.

Emphasising the importance of collaboration between the ILO and ICAO to ensure a green and inclusive future for aviation, Houngbo closed with hopeful words: “I would like to welcome you onboard as we aim to cruise at the higher altitude to attain a better social justice for all.”

Cpt Gilberto Lopez Meyer, Senior Vice-President, Corporate Safety and Security for Aeromexico explained: “The voice of pilots is essential – we need to reinforce the participation of IFALPA in all international fora… but we must strive for equal levels of safety and security in all regions in the world – not just the more resourced and developed areas. IFALPA has been doing a good job focusing on this and must continue to do so.”

Captain Humberto Gual-Angeles, Secretary General of ASPA de México welcomed the Global Pilot Community to Mexico City and delivered an inspiring speech to the crowd. He underscored the vital importance of international collaboration and the power of pilot solidarity: “It is important to recognise that, in an industry as complex and constantly evolving as aviation, unity and collaboration between unions, organisations, and governments is essential to ensure sustainable growth and safe operations.”

IFALPA President Cpt Amornvaj (Ben) Mansumitchai delivered his State of the Federation address and officially opened the Conference: “As I reflect on this past year, it is evident that with these opportunities also comes a significant responsibility to ensure accountability and transparency in all our actions. I am immensely proud of the progress we have made together and remain committed to guiding IFALPA towards continued success in the future.”
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