IFATCA 2030+ – Americas

The IFATCA Americas Region comprises 25 Air Traffic Controller Associations.  At the time of the survey being sent out there were 24 Member Associations (MAs).  Eleven replies were received from 11 Associations, with one MA submitting 2 replies.   The countries that have sent replies were Saint Lucia, Canada, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Bahamas, Chile, United States of America, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Mexico.  Due to the low response rate it is important to remember that a small number of votes can easily sway the results in this region.

Focus on the region

The consensus (75%) from the Americas region lean towards the combination of global and regional with increased regional perspectives as we move forward. At least one MA took the stance that different regions would have different issues to contend with and more regional focus would lend itself to work on such issues. As far as the regional TOC and PLC is concerned, there was a strong pull (81.8%) toward having a regional subset of these committees. The group did felt there should be global and regional cooperation between these groups. The majority opinion cited the ability to have the region’s unique challenges addressed; while the dissenting opinion discussed the risk of factions and necessity of global cohesion. The region unanimously agreed that there should be an increased emphasis on regional issues. There was an additional insight that one MA expressed concern over the goals and effectiveness of IFATCA before being willing to entertain increase in regional focus. Social interaction and cohesion were highly valued in the region on all levels. The Speak English Program (SEP) was deemed a highly valuable product and they would like to see more of such programs, potentially covering technical matters and more. There was a sense of trying to build the IFATCA family across all regions while building one cohesive group- not just in the region as that could feel divisive.

Conference and meetings

With respect to regional meetings, the vote indicated a fairly even split between extending regional meetings.  Among the respondents saying yes, 3 MAs (60%) voted for a 4 day meeting.  One of the replies indicated it would be amenable to have a flexible amount of time depending on the breadth of the agenda.  For regional meetings the  topics deemed most valuable were: taking valuable information back to the MA, learning from peers, latest developments in the industry and making a difference in your region.  The least important topic to MAs was adding to CVs.  When it comes to the global meetings the same sentiments were echoed. Regarding the Annual Meeting the votes aligned with 55.6% favoring in person and 44.4% supporting hybrid meetings.  Among those MAs that supported hybrid meetings, there seems to be the caveat that it should be a backup methodology to allow participation from MAs that cannot attend,  while acknowledging that the effect would still not be as good as in person meetings.  The in person meetings allowed for better understanding, with the ability to interpret body language and build better relationships, which is not supported remotely.  The topic of event organizers drew a lot of commentary.  Event organizers were seen in a spectrum from ‘helpful’ as part of a team of locals to ‘not necessary’.  The region held a strong sense of pride in showcasing our countries and their individual flair.  There was some feeling that the removal of this could potentially  alienate some MAs.  Though the potential for someone that would be aware of the minima required to successfully host the meeting would not be eschewed.  Further some MAs believe that the MAs should be held to strict standards of compliance with potential leveraging of fines for non compliance with regulated minima.  Lastly, one MA asked to see a set of criteria clearly delineating responsibilities of a host.

Regional issues

Topics of interest for the future of the Americas Region included a wide spectrum of topics with little consensus, some of the topics of interest were: harmonization with ICAO Standards, relationships between MA and ANSP, integration of UAS, and capacity building. There was no strong alignment in the region.

Increase in membership fee

62.5% of the MAs (with only 8 replies) felt that an increase in financial contribution was not feasible.  Of the 3 replies responding that the MA would entertain further contribution, the majority opinion on increase was 10-15% (66.7% of the 3 votes).  The reasons for supporting an increase would primarily be tied to more consideration of the MAs and an increase in attention of issues impacting the MA.  The majority of the no opinions were due to the inability of the MAs to spare any further resources.

Regional participation in IFATCA work

Currently 62.5% of the AMA states that they are volunteering in IFATCA activities.  The overall strongest benefit of volunteerism was information exchange, particularly of those that have experienced it first hand.  There are also benefits of networking, building stronger relationships, and leadership.  Difficulties in volunteerism tend to fall into a few sections: difficulty in securing volunteers, understanding of volunteer opportunities, time for volunteers, and finance.  The proposal for drawing more volunteers is to make the volunteers see the value of their roles.

Information availability

Information awareness was evenly split in terms of feeling well aware and needing more information provided.  Some ways that this may be accomplished included breaking the information down into bite sized amounts and provision of a cell phone app to easily access the data.  There were several ideas on  how to increase transparency and information sharing, including having a facilitator of learning where they can present the information in manageable amounts (this may be done in short video clips).