PJIAE’S Air Traffic Controllers to Host Weekend of Activities for International Day of the Air Traff

The International Day of the Air Traffic Controller will be celebrated on October 20, 2012. The Air Traffic Controllers Association of St. Maarten (ATCA) will be hosting a weekend of activities, inviting several air traffic controllers (ATCs) organizations from the Caribbean region and North America to our shores.


Air traffic controllers are qualified professionals that maintain the highest level of safety to the flying public. With aircraft movements at over 60,000 (landings and take-offs) at PJIA annually, ATCs are responsible for the safe and efficient guidance of aircrafts from all parts of the world in and out of PJIA and surrounding airports.

President of the ATCA St. Maarten, Aurillio Baly, said that the association is "expecting ATCs from Antigua, Anguilla, St. Martin, Puerto Rico and Miami, Florida on Friday" to kick off the weekend of activities.

Duncan van Heyningen, ATCA vice president and its event coordinator at PJIA, said, "the visitors will have a jam-packed schedule, which includes a welcoming cocktail and mixer at the famous Sunset Beach Bar."

The ATCs Banquet Dinner will be held at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort on Saturday night. Van Heyningen said, "the visitors will also get a taste of local life with an island tour and experience the coveted duty-free shopping in Philipsburg during the weekend." The weekend of activities will end with a farewell cruise aboard "The Explorer."

Baly, a 17-year ATC veteran, recounted years of interacting with different controllers across the region but never having the privilege to meet them in person. According to Baly, ATCs across the region are for the most part "like a group of family members that never met in person."

"This initiative gives us a chance to meet the people we cooperate with everyday and, a chance to share ideas and exchange stories," said the ATC St. Maarten president.

In 2006, the St. Maarten ATC and PJIAE had also held activities for the International Day of the Air Traffic Controller and invited the ATCs from Antigua.

The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA), which founded the International Day of the Air Traffic Controller, is celebrating its 51st anniversary in 2012.