Today, the 55th Annual Conference of IFATCA, the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations kicked off in Las Vegas, USA. Over 400 delegates from some 70 Member Associations traveled from across the globe to discuss professional, technical and operational aspects of air traffic control. The conference host, NATCA - the National Air Traffic Controllers' Association of the USA - put together an opening ceremony in true Las Vegas style, expertly strung together by master of ceremonies Richard Kennington. In their opening addresses, both NATCA President Paul Rinaldi and IFATCA President & CEO, Patrik Peters, stressed the importance of international cooperation and how we can learn from each others' experiences.
Following the opening ceremony, the opening plenary awarded the 2016 IFATCA Technical Award to Frequentis. In his introductory speech, the Chairman of IFATCA's Technical & Operational Committee, Ben Gorrie, praised the Electronic Flight Strip system of the Austrian manufacturer: operational feedback from controllers in various parts of the world indicated that the Frequentis systems provide a highly reliable and user-friendly experience, thereby enhancing safety and efficiency. Mr. Gorrie and Alfred Vlasek, chairman of the Professional & Legal Committee of IFATCA, presented the award to Thomas Fraenzl of Frequentis.
In the afternoon, the delegates spread across three committees to discuss administrative issues affecting the Federation (committee A), Technical and Operational issues (committee B) and Professional and Legal aspects (committee C).