As I made my way to the EATS exhibition hall in Berlin last November, after months of covid related complexity, a late surge in attendance, and understandable exhibitor queries, the only question left to answer was how intense is the event going to be?
Thankfully, that question was answered as soon as I walked through the EATS doors and saw booths packed with new technologies and people, while knowledgeable and engaged speakers outlined the way forward for 2022 and beyond.
Delegates and exhibitors reported the live event allowed them to do three months business in one day, while our Heads of Training meeting with the ATPG focused on practical discussion of current training tech and thinking and how we can progress, together.
Sure, virtual meetings were a lifesaver, keeping us connected and sane in the darkest hours. Our partner, Modest Tree, helped us ensure the conversations kept going and the community remained together. There will always be a place for virtual meetings as subject specific workshops but nothing can replace meeting up with old and new friends to catch up, exchange ideas, validate thinking in a relaxing but professional atmosphere.
As we now open the registrations for the 24th World Aviation Training Symposium, I invite you to sign up and be part of the community discussion that ensures our industry thrives again. As an industry, we have never seen so much technological change, personnel change, shortage and covid induced pressures. As a result, there is much to discuss and understand. Our exhibition space is full with a waitlist as we try to accommodate all parties to be a part of WATS. We are determined to ensure as many can be there as possible.
Our team is finalizing a number of intriguing speaker proposals as we formulate our conference programs. We will host a series of discussions on Emerging Technologies as well as maximizing the use of existing equipment and we will embrace EVTOL aircraft and advances in training in defense aviation as we look at how we further integrate XR, AI, bid data et al to improve our future training.
Look for updates on the program in early February!
In 2019 and early 2020 there was general discussion about the new training technologies we expected to employ around 2024/25. Many argue, and I agree, that two years of Covid have telescoped that timeline and we need to employ them now to provide greater efficiency.
But technology is not the only point of discussion. We are in unique territory; the airline world is coming back by country and region as each develops its resilience and policy toward Covid. Whilst some operators have been supported by government, they will all come out of the crisis with heavy debt and in some cases only a cadre of personnel on which to rebuild. For some, this is more like a ‘start’ not a ‘re-start’.
I’m keen to see funding for training become a focus for government, not just for industry. It will be key to allowing recruitment of a diverse workforce that the vast majority of us understand is the only way forward for our industry. If government can fund education and training for professions such as medicine and law, why not for professional pilot training? It is time for action.
We are expecting some 1,000 plus attendees from over 50 countries to join us in Florida in May as we gather to focus on Training, Enabling the World Airline Industry. Please, register and join us, it has never been a more important time to attend and be part of the community.
WATS 2022: The 24th World Aviation Training Summit
3-5 May, 2022
Rosen Shingle Creek Resort • Orlando, Florida, USA
Exhibition floor is SOLD OUT - more space becoming available!