It appears that Europe isn’t big enough for two major ATC conferences.
On October 16, London-based events marketing and communications company UBM announced the signing of a 10-year pact with representatives of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to stage its ATC Global conference in that country starting next year.
ATC Global 2014 will take place at the China National Convention Center in Beijing from September 17 through 19. UBM confirmed to AIN that it has ended its commitment to Amsterdam’s RAI conference center, the most recent venue of the longstanding ATC conference since its relocation from Maastricht, the Netherlands. (UBM continues to work with the RAI center on other events.) Immediately following this year’s conference in March, UBM announced that ATC Global would return to Amsterdam in 2014 and had already re-signed 70 percent of exhibitors.
In previous posts, I described the messy divorce that led to an offshoot conference—the World ATM Congress, produced by the Netherlands-based Civil Air Navigation Services Organization and the U.S.-based Air Traffic Control Association. The principals emphasize that this is an event “organized for the industry, by the industry.” They convened the first such congress in February at the somewhat desolate (in my opinion) IFEMA convention complex on the outskirts of Madrid. Maybe it was because the Barajas Airport taxi driver double-billed me after toying with my rudimentary Spanish, but I prefer the Amsterdam venue. Nevertheless, the inaugural congress drew all of the major movers and shakers in ATC from mainly the western world and must be judged a success. It returns to the IFEMA venue next March 4 through 6, which would be the week before ATC Global had the latter conference stayed in Amsterdam.
UBM’s signing-ceremony release was a glass-half-full pronouncement that describes the relocation of ATC Global to China, originally announced in late September, as “overdue recognition that the center of gravity for the world’s air traffic control community has shifted decisively eastwards.” Senior representatives from the CAAC Air Traffic Management Bureau (ATMB) and the “international ATM community” will serve on the conference advisory board.
The relocation had been in the works since the World ATM Congress surfaced in 2011. ATC Global “went to great lengths” to bring a delegation of more than 70 officials representing the ATMB, the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department and “all regional Chinese ATM bureaus” to the previous event in March, UBM has said.
“We have been monitoring the global market with an eye on Asia for several years and have spent the last two years conducting in-depth research whilst also establishing relationships that will underpin the next chapter in the development of ATC Global,” Paula Milburn, UBM’s development director for aviation, states in the latest release.