Strategy and actions in the emerging markets
One of the great pleasures of Craig Fuller’s professional life involves working with the General Aviation (GA) community to promote GA’s growth and health, both in the United States and around the world. In addition to his role as president and CEO of AOPA USA, he is proud to lead an organization called the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA).
With member organizations in 68 countries, IAOPA is the only global federation of GA pilots and aircraft owners. For more than 50 years, IAOPA has served as the voice of GA worldwide. IAOPA’s mission is singular—to facilitate the growth of GA internationally.
To do that, IAOPA works to increase awareness of GA’s role as an economic engine while supporting good public policy that helps grow the global GA industry. Together and individually, the members of IAOPA work to increase awareness and understanding of the nature and needs of GA in their home countries and around the world.
“The emerging markets of the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia are of critical importance to IAOPA, and we have a strong presence in these regions with AOPA affiliates already established in China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, India, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey,” Fuller explains, adding that IAOPA organizations in these regions (and globally) have made great strides in encouraging GA growth through an emphasis on the following goals:
• To facilitate the movement of GA aircraft internationally, and to increase their utility as a means of personal and business transportation;
• To coordinate with other international and national organizations to promote better understanding of GA’s requirements; To advance the interests of GA internationally and to represent the membership on matters of interest to International Civil Aviation Organization with regard to international standards, recommended practices, procedures, facilities and services;
• To encourage the implementation of planned systems, facilities, services and procedures to promote flight safety, efficiency and utility in the use of GA aircraft;
• To encourage collaboration with national authorities in the interest of promoting better understanding, enlightened regulation and adequate facilities for GA.
“There is strong evidence that the efforts of IAOPA and its constituent groups have produced a growing recognition and respect for GA among the public at large, international regulatory bodies, and within the domestic governments of many member States,” Fuller reveals.
The ongoing efforts of AOPA China are an excellent example of the positive impact IAOPA organizations are having in their home countries. AOPA China has emerged as the leading voice of GA there, and in September held its first annual AOPA China Summit and Low Altitude Economic Summit in Beijing. A success by any measure, the conference attracted more than 350 attendees and provided proof that GA in China is growing rapidly and has acquired significant government support for continued expansion.
Conference participants heard from speakers representing the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the Chinese Air Traffic Management Bureau, the Central Military Commission, provincial governors, and the City of Beijing, among others. Representatives of AOPA USA, AOPA Korea, AOPA Philippines, and IAOPA were also present. Unequivocal support was expressed for the continued growth of GA in China.
At the conference, Feng Zhang, vice president of AOPA China, called on the government to allow access to airspace and introduce favorable regulations for building infrastructure and reducing taxes on aircraft purchases. Government officials responded that they are committed to creating policies that will develop civil aviation through a building-block approach that involves opening airspace, expansion of a test program for GA operations beyond an initial five locations, designing a civilian air traffic system, and more. A government spokesman was clear that government will support GA development with favorable policies and regulations as well as provide financial aid.
“Similar discussions between government officials and the GA community are taking place worldwide—a development all of us at IAOPA are dedicated to supporting,” Fuller promised. “Next month, Melissa Rudinger, AOPA USA’s senior vice president of government affairs, is participating in the U.S.-India Aviation Summit in New Delhi. The summit is designed to bring together industry leaders and regulators to foster a better understanding of GA and promote its growth.
“Looking to the future, we remain committed to identifying new opportunities to grow GA, advocating for favorable government policies, and encouraging the development of airports and infrastructure to support it,” Fuller concluded. “Growing GA worldwide has been IAOPA’s mission for more than 50 years, and it will remain at the heart of our efforts for decades to come.”