Uplink ALPA - The Voice of Aviation

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter. As of April 2020 Uplink ALPA is a 6-monthly publication.

Reflections on a year as IFALPA's Regional Vice President South Pacific

David Griffin, an Air New Zealand Captain and co-author of the Pilot Career Progression Study, reflects on his recent involvement with IFALPA

IFALPA’s Regional Vice President South Pacific

representative David Griffin.

IFALPA’s Regional Vice President South Pacific (RVP SOP) role has been filled by an Australian representative for many years. When the last office holder retired the expected nominee was unavailable. NZALPA was invited to propose a suitable candidate – and I was then elected into the role. 

The South Pacific region of IFALPA covers New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea (which all have their own ALPAs) plus all the island nations of the South Pacific. IFALPA’s Regional Vice Presidents act as coordinators within the regions’ ALPAs and aviation authorities, and also fill various roles for IFALPA globally such as at International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) meetings.  The last year has been very interesting as it has enabled me to develop a deeper understanding of IFALPA, the region, the member associations and their leaders, and their various difficulties, strengths and weaknesses.  

I attended a wide range of meetings during the year, including: 

  • IFALPA Asia Pacific Regional Meeting, Kuala Lumpur, October 2018.  Four days.  I gave a briefing on IFALPA Runway Safety Team training and successes for New Zealand.  I also represented NZALPA at this forum in the absence of NZALPA’s IFALPA Director who was unable to attend. 
  • Directors General of Civil Aviation Conference in Fiji, also in October 2018.   This was an excellent networking opportunity; we made connections for several ALPA to their DGCA. Of the 54 Directors General and about 450 other attendees, only two were active pilots - the IFALPA Executive VP Asia Pacific and me.  We were asked to provide a pilot and IFALPA perspective on several issues.  One of my goals is to find connections to South Pacific pilot groups so we can encourage them to develop new ALPA groups in countries where there is currently no representation. These new groups will then be able to work with Pacific civil aviation authorities to improve the low level of ICAO compliance and increase safety around the South Pacific. Several useful connections were made to further this goal.
  • Informal South Pacific Air Traffic Co-ordination and Management Conference in Queenstown. Three days in March 2019. This is the annual meeting of South Pacific air navigation service providers to discuss coordination and long term planning issues in the South Pacific and adjacent flight information regions.
  • IFALPA Conference in Berlin in March 2019, where I was part of the IFALPA credentials committee, monitoring and managing voting.  I was also able to sit in on many of the conference speeches and workshops. 
  • IFALPA RVP Workshop in Montreal in June 2019, to enable Regional Vice Presidents to better represent IFALPA at the various meetings we attend.  This was a very valuable introduction into IFALPA’s work, staff and functions.  It also included an interesting visit to ICAO (just across the road from IFALPA’s offices). It was impressive to see the IFALPA name plate at the main table of the ICAO Air Navigation Commission and to see first-hand the work IFALPA does to be the ‘Global Voice of Pilots’. 

The next event I will attend is the IFALPA Regional Meeting in Bangladesh where I will present a Runway Safety Team Training module. 

We are currently organising a joint NZALPA and IFALPA training of Runway Safety teams planned for Auckland early next year. All our elected representatives and members will be able to attend, as well as relevant New Zealand airport staff and representatives of our Civil Aviation Authority.  An invite will also be extended to IFALPA member associations in our region. More details on this will be available soon.   

All of my expenses in attending these events are covered by IFALPA, and most of my time is recompensed from the Air New Zealand pilots leave bank, for which I and IFALPA thank our members. 

As an IFALPA RVP I also act as an information channel between IFALPA and the member associations in the region.  This is mostly technical issues and meeting reports channelled to our technical committee and AusALPA.  It is also a very good position from which to view our neighbouring member associations and look for opportunities for us to assist each other.  While Australia and New Zealand ALPAs are well resourced this is not the case for Fiji and Papua New Guinea.  We have been able to offer assistance before contract negotiations and attempt to arrange negotiator training (never been done before in Fiji) and seek legal precedence for a court case Fiji ALPA are taking.  When a Papua New Guinea Boeing 737 landed short in Palau last September, through IFALPA connections we arranged for the Australian Federation of Air Pilots to provide immediate assistance and peer support to the First Officer (an Australian resident), as soon as he landed back in Brisbane.  

What is IFALPA?   

As the name suggests, it is an International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations.  NZALPA was a founding member back in 1948.  It was founded around the time the United Nations and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) were established, with the aim of presenting a coordinated voice for pilots worldwide and particularly at ICAO and government levels.  This role continues today.  Another very important role is linking the various member associations to work together, and to learn from others’ experiences industrially, technically, on medical and legal and many other issues.

“'The mission of the Federation is to promote the highest level of aviation safety worldwide and to be the global advocate of the piloting profession; providing representation, services, and support to both our members and the aviation industry.” 

Today IFALPA represents about 103,000 pilots in 78 countries.

Current hot issues IFALPA’s voluntary pilot representatives are working hard on include the Boeing 737 Max, flight time limitations, multi crew pilot licenses and single pilot operations. 

So what does all this cost you as a member of NZALPA?  Just $30 a year - not bad value really.



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