Just to be clear, I am writing this on Sunday, April 5. I make a point of mentioning it because if we go back to last month’s President’s Corner, I was inviting everyone to our 2020 events as if nothing unusual was happening. That column was written before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11 and sent to COPA Flight’s editor about three weeks prior to it being in your hands. It was still rainbows and unicorns back then; situations can happen so quickly and turn your world upside down. Other than prior events, such as the financial crisis of 2008-9, the last time our industry (and the world) took such a major, disrupting turn on September 11, 2001.

In project risk management terms, we find ‘known-knowns’ (known risk with known impact) and ‘known-unknowns’ (known risk with unknown impact). It’s frightening to say that this pandemic is close to the textbook worst-case scenario anyone could think of – a third category referred to as the ‘unknown unknown’ (unforeseen risk with unforeseen impact).

Though the aviation industry has always proven quite resilient and gets back on its feet a few years after a shock, this time may prove to be different. Because the global economy is affected and it is literally bringing the whole aviation industry (and others) to a grinding halt for months, it may bring about a ‘new world order’ for aviation. It will provide the airline industry, airport councils, IATA, ICAO and others the opportunity to gain lessons out of this crisis; it should not go wasted.

Thankfully, as of now, I don’t foresee a great impact on the world of recreational aviation other than longer confinement and thus a shortened summer flying season this year, with a scarcity of resources and minor disruptions.

As I write this, we have been working diligently with other associations and the regulator (Transport Canada) in making this as seamless as possible. I must applaud TC for their efforts, for listening to all of us and putting out the exemptions and information material in a timely fashion, and for understanding and supporting everyone’s needs. From the airline industry to general aviation, we are all in this together and we will get through it together.

And about our events… Our upcoming Annual General Meeting will be held live over streaming media for which we will send out invitations. For regulatory reasons, it needs to take place before the end of June.

Our convention in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec will be postponed. However, we do not have exact dates at this point.

The thirtieth annual World Assembly of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA 2020) is now IAOPA 2021, having been postponed to July 1924 of next year (the week before AirVenture 2021). We’d like our international guests to consider combining their trip to Montreal with a two-hour flight to Oshkosh.

Board Elections – Participate! Elections for over half of the Directors on COPA’s Board are open (until May 10) and take place ONLINE. For those in the regions whose Directors are up for election, go to our website, log in, then click on ‘Members Only’. Only those who reside in regions where there is an election will see the relevant information.

As always, if you have any questions, please give me a call at 613-236-4901 x102 or write me at bgervais@copanational.org.