IFATCA elects first female President and CEO

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The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA), at its 63rd Annual Conference in Singapore, proudly heralds a new era with the election of Helena Sjöström as its first female President and CEO.

During the closing plenary to Directors, Sjöström remarked: “IFATCA needs to continue to foster an inclusive and collaborative culture of excellence by promoting international cooperation among air traffic controllers, facilitating the exchange of best practices, and setting rigorous standards for safety, efficiency, and professionalism. IFATCA should actively engage with regulatory bodies, industry stakeholders, and academia to ensure our standards are at the forefront of global aviation.”

Helena Sjöström replaces Duncan Auld, who served as the IFATCA President and CEO since 2019. After 11 years on the Executive Board, Auld told Delegates in Singapore: “I am proud to have achieved my objective of bringing the Federation closer together and into a new era. I wanted to be a different kind of President, with a different leadership style, and I think that worked.”

With almost 100 associations represented at this conference in Singapore, the Conference Delegates demonstrated unity and commitment to the air traffic controller profession. The conference overall was a resounding success thanks to the team of IFATCA Officers, the ATCA Singapore Organising Committee, and of course the delegates.

The Federation also elected Jean-François Lepage as its Deputy President. In his acceptance speech, Lepage said: “We need to make the best use of the resources we have. For this, agility is the key: IFATCA has to be at the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.”

The Federation’s directors also elected Tom McRobert as Executive Vice President Finance (EVPF). Ahmad Abba of Nigeria will transition from his current position as Regional Vice President West Africa to the role of Executive Vice President Africa & Middle East (AFM). Following his successful election, Abba brings a collaborative and team-oriented approach that will greatly enhance the coordination of IFATCA activities within the AFM region.

Three of the nine elected board members were re-elected: Peter van Rooyen from South Africa will continue his role as Executive Vice President Professional (EVPP), a position he has held since 2018. Trish Gilbert, United States, will continue as the Executive Vice President Americas (AMA) region, a role she took up in 2021 after serving in various capacities for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, including a 12-year tenure as Executive Vice President.

Frédéric Deleau resumes his position as Executive Vice President Europe, which he has held since 2020. Deleau’s background as an air traffic controller for EUROCONTROL at Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre is complemented by his extensive involvement in European Air Traffic Management.

To access the complete roster of IFATCA’s executive board members, along with their detailed biographies, please click here.