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Press Releases

World Assembly of the International Council of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations,
Stellenbosch, 10-15 April 2012

Today the International Council of Aircraft Owners and Pilot Associations (IAOPA) has 440 000 members from 69 member states, representing the interests of hundreds of thousands of pilots, aircraft owners, opinion leaders, decision makers and the entire aviation industry worldwide. It is the most significant general aviation body in the world.

South Africa was elected to host the 2012 World Assembly of IAOPA at the Spier Hotel and Conference Centre in Stellenbosch, Western Cape between 10 and 15 April 2012. We, the local branch of IAOPA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of South Africa (AOPA SA) is responsible for organising this illustrious and prestigious event. This is a unique opportunity to market, develop and build South African industry, tourism, education and training, to create jobs, improve national and international regulatory frameworks, to establish international standards and channels of communication, build relationships, foster hope and nurture friendship across international borders.

AOPA SA, with its fifty five year old track record, is a respected organisation, the country's only non-profit, independent, representative aviation organisation. We represent the interests of South Africa's private aircraft owners and assists the Civil Aviation Authority on an on-going basis on the various regulatory committees. AOPA SA also liaises daily with the Department of Transport, ATNS, SAWS, local, provincial and the national government.

The World Assembly is a biennial meeting of the leadership of the 69 affiliated states' aviation bodies to discuss international regulatory issues, challenges, developments, meteorological issues, technology, changes and other matters of importance. It is a most important channel of international communication which transcends all political and geographical barriers and is of the utmost importance for safe air travel. It is through the efforts of the World Assembly that general aviation pilots can continue to operate in international skies, safely and affordably. Without the efforts of the World Assembly, international rules, regulations, laws, communication and technical standards will degenerate to levels which will represent a very real and serious threat to all aviation, worldwide, with the potential for dire consequences. Decisions taken at the World Assembly are presented by IAOPA to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for implementation. The World Assembly of IAOPA is the only recognized body of general aviation that has a direct line of communication with ICAO.

For all the above reasons, the World Assembly will be a unique event, bringing honour and prestige and almost two hundred international tourists of a very high profile to our country, exposing South Africa to the eyes and ears of the international aviation community and indeed the world. The potential for repetitive tourism is vast.

South Africa has a very large general aviation fleet, estimates placing it somewhere between the third and eighth largest fleet in the world. The country's pilots and aircraft owners represent a significant body of consumers and spenders of discretionary income.

A very interesting associated project is our community project. As part of the World Assembly we have decided to support the Worcester School for the Blind, or the Institute for the Blind as it is now called (see We have already received donations and pledges for R36 000 towards this very worthwhile cause. Our international parent body was one of the first entities to make a significant financial contribution. We plan on presenting a cheque but we also want to make use of their five man band as well as buy conference bags, writing pads and corporate branded wine from them, as gifts to our delegates. The management of the Institute was overwhelmed with joy at our initial contact. We are really desperate to not disappoint them. By supporting them now, they will not only receive the obvious immediate benefit, but the contact with the international world, 69 countries, harbours all kinds of wonderful prospects for the future.

The Department of Transport, Toyota South Africa, ExecuJet and the Civil Aviation Authority are already on board as co-sponsors.
Kind regards.

Dr JT (Koos) Marais
President: AOPA SA
9 February 2012

AOPA Press Releases

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