From the Opening Session of the World Aviation Training Summit 2023, remarks by Conference Chair Rick Adams.

In the year the Internet was born, 1983, 40 years ago, the world’s 1st simulation and training magazine was launched – MS&T.

Subsequently, major airlines in Europe and North America requested a magazine to help spread the word about training best practices. CAT magazine rose up in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall came down.

In 1998, the 1st WATS conference was held in London.

Since then, Halldale has persevered through the 9-11 aftermath, the global recession, and the Covid pandemic.

A European version of WATS – known as EATS – was started in 2002, the same year EASA was born.

Cabin Crew and Maintenance training streams were added to WATS.

An AsiaPacific event was launched in 2006.

In 2013, the unique Heads of Training forum was created at EATS Europe. And this year marks the 1st such event at WATS for Americas Heads of Training.

All of this, and more, is thanks to the vision and determination of two people – and the team they have assembled over the years.

Andy Smith and Chrissy Smith are the heart and sustaining force behind Halldale, WATS, EATS, APATS, MS&T and CAT.

I have known Andy for about 35 years, first as his client and later as colleagues.

What strikes me most about Andy and Chrissy is their unwavering desire to serve the training industry – to be independent, honest brokers of information-sharing that benefits this community.

We hear a lot these days about resiliency. Well, Halldale is the epitome of adapting to challenging circumstances.

As this is the 25th Anniversary event of WATS – an incredible achievement – the Halldale family wanted to honour Andy and Chrissy with a small gift. Silver, of course.

We thank them for their service, which has made all our lives better and the skies safer.