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NATCA Leaders Join IFATCA’s Record-Breaking 63rd Annual Conference

NATCA leaders and representatives were proud to participate in the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA)’s 63rd Annual Conference, April 15-19 in Singapore. A total of 96 member associations were represented, marking an all-time high for the event. The annual conference facilitates technical discussions on air traffic control issues and adopts working papers from various committees, setting the framework for discussions with regulators and service providers worldwide.

As the conference began, NATCA Executive Vice President Andrew LeBovidge moderated the “Mental Wellbeing Panel,” focusing on supporting the mental wellbeing and resilience of air traffic controllers for the benefit of the entire aviation community.

“It was an honor to moderate a panel on mental wellbeing and to bring focus to this very important subject on an international stage,” LeBovidge said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us in this area, but one thing is clear: Progress is necessary and is welcomed across the globe.”

The panelists included IFATCA Mental Wellbeing Task Force (MWTF) Chair Dr. Jaco van der Westhuizen, CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) Australia Principal Medical Officer Dr. Kate Manderson, International Peer Assist Aviation Coalition (IPAAC) Chair Capt. Dave Fielding, and Fiji Airways Capt. Laurie Shaw.

IFATCA’s Technical and Operations Committee (TOC) and Professional and Legal Committee (PLC) presented on topics including remote towers, systems-based licensing, UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Flight Rules, and adjustments to existing policies. The 2030+ Task Force presented papers related to structure and integration of regional committees and tools for better connectivity among the IFATCA member associations.

Additionally, NATCA presenters and participants in the conference included National NextGen Article 114 Representative Adam Rhodes (Houston TRACON, I90), Article 114 Rep. for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Jimmy Smith (Southern California TRACON, SCT), Betsy Beaumont (TOC member, Dallas-Fort Worth Center, ZFW), Jaymi Steinberg (TOC member, Washington Center, ZDC), Michelle Trudeau (PLC member, Indianapolis Center, ZID, retired), Tom Thompson (IFATCA Speak English Program, ZID, retired), and Brittney Armbrust (IFATCA Communications, Colorado Springs ATCT, COS).

NATCA former Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert (Houston Center, ZHU, retired) was re-elected to serve in her role as IFATCA’s Executive Vice President (EVP) for the Americas.  Additionally, IFATCA saw its first female president elected Helena Sjöström of Sweden.

Over the next year, research will be conducted on a variety of topics including environmental policy review, interval management, deactivation of safety nets, and more. This research will be presented at the next annual conference in April 2025 in Abu Dhabi.

“There is an enormous amount of value for our profession in the exchange of information on the global level,” Thompson said. “I am very proud of our Union and the members both past and present who have participated in this very important work.”

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