Every time I fly, I am still amazed by the miracle that is aviation. Strapped into a seat on a several hundred-tonne machine, it powers forward and slowly moves away from the earth, the only realm of humanity for millennia. This was only a dream of great minds for centuries. The aircraft defies gravity and crosses land, mountains, seas, and international boundaries, in a matter of hours connecting people from every corner of the globe.
Saturday, December 7 is International Civil Aviation Day, a brief yet relevant reminder of all we have achieved over the past century.
Since the early 1920s, air traffic control has developed as an integral part of the aviation community, building what is undoubtedly one of the most complex systems in the world. An often unseen and under-represented part of the industry, it has been at the core of the exponential growth of the aviation industry. We are soon to celebrate 100 years of air traffic control in 2022, a fitting time to look how far we have come, but also to forge the road ahead.
On a similar note, ICAO is turning 75 this year. For the last three-quarters of a century, they have consistently been a symbol of unity and direction. This United Nations Organisation has been the corner-store of international aviation standards. Without their leadership and guidance, it is difficult to imagine where we would be now.
Air traffic is predicted to double over the next 15 years and we already face a critical shortage of aviation professionals. We urgently need to recruit a young and diverse future workforce to continue the innovation and development of our industry so it can cope with the challenges of the future. Society is changing fast, let us embrace generational change and adapt to the modern world in ways we have never imagined.
We often hear that aviation is the safest form of transport and statistically, it is true but this is no reason for complacency. We have many challenges ahead as the industry will evolve at a rate not experienced before. We must be innovative, flexible, and creative. Now is our time to shine.
As I board another flight tomorrow, I will take a moment to recognise all the people, the millions of people over the years, that have made aviation the amazing achievement that we see today.
Happy International Civil Aviation Day.
IFATCA President & CEO