Throughout 2018 the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) is celebrating its 70th anniversary. IFALPA, of which New Zealanders were involved in helping establish, is the global voice of airline pilots and influential in ensuring that the skies are safe and secure.
IFALPA has a vast and rich history, originating out of the Second World War. Shortly after the formation of the United Nations, of which New Zealand was also a founding member, a number of specialist agencies were formed including the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). ICAO was established to create aviation policy to ensure that aviation was safe, secure and sustainable.
In 1948, a number of pilot associations realised that their voice was not heard in policy making. To ensure that they had input and some control over aviation practices, they needed to organise an international federation of pilots – IFALPA was born.
For the past seven decades IFALPA has been the global voice of pilots, ensuring that their mission is reflected at every turn; to promote the highest level of aviation safety worldwide and to be the global advocate for the piloting profession.
IFALPA has seen dramatic changes to the aviation industry. In the 1960’s, IFALPA had to consider how to manage issues associated with the hijacking of planes in exchange for ransom by various groups. During its peak from 1968 -1972 over 130 planes throughout the world were hijacked. This triggered action from IFALPA which resulted in the physical screening of all passengers before boarding. The 2001 Twin Towers attacks in New York City, again reminded the world of the importance of airline security and the introduction of more effective policy and measures.
IFALPA has also had to manage changes in the aviation market, including the rapid expansion of the airline industry and the perceived ‘race to the bottom’ brought about by cut price airlines and atypical employment models. IFALPA is a key voice in negotiations around ‘Open Skies agreements’ and lobbying against unfair and unsafe contracting.
“As we look to the future, it is clear that we must continue to find new ways to support our unique industry while building on the strengths that have made us successful for so long,” said IFALPA President Ron Abel in his 70th anniversary message.
“This is an exciting time for all of us – an occasion not only to celebrate our legacy of innovation and achievement, but also to advance a vision that will guide the Federation’s next 70 years.”