FAI President's letter - May 2014

Dear Air Sport Friends,

I am very pleased to report real positive progress within FAI.

But first I would like to extend my best wishes to all of you who like myself are starting another wonderful flying season full of new experiences, views and friends. And to those of you who are preparing for winter I hope you still have some great flying opportunities.

The FAI Head Office have turned their controls to full speed ahead. Our new Secretary General Susanne Schoedel is already well updated and active in all urgent matters as well as deeply involved in strategical decisions. As you know she has recruited Markus Haggeney as Sports and Marketing Director and he too, although arriving a few weeks after Susanne, is also deeply engaged in the present change process.

Because a change it is. The new management has arrived with expertise and enthusiasm, and this is contagious; in the Head Office, in your Executive Board as well with our external contacts. And I dare say, also in our esteemed group of Commission Presidents.

We recently had an Executive Board meeting for two full days as well as the Commission Presidents’ meeting. You will eventually – not too long wait I hope! – get the full minutes but I wish to point out  some of the high lights;

Our Commissions are all very active and, although they each have challenges, the air sport activities around our World are developing wonderfully. A number of air sports are gradually getting closer to the Olympic movement and I and our Secretary General will, in a few days, have a sit-down meeting with the new IOC President, Mr. Thomas Bach.  We will see air sports at the World Games, at Asian Beach Games, at South East Asian Games and perhaps even at the Winter Youth Olympic Games!

The present Strategic Plan for FAI dates back to 2010 and it is time for a major update. We now have a new document which will be presented in October to the General Conference. On the basis of our new Vision; "A world where safe participation in air sports and recreational flying is available to everyone at reasonable cost" and our new Mission "FAI is the global organization for the promotion of air sports and recreational flying" we are re-defining our most essential activities and allocating resources to these.  

Our sponsorship programme is on track and the structured search for new partners, as well as our company FAME, is now under the full control of FAI. The 2013 experience of hiring a qualified external marketing specialist as the CEO of FAME was not successful and this partnership has been terminated. There is a new Board for FAME but the company activities as such are on hold while we update our Strategic Plan.

You will have heard of the success with the Sailplane Grand Prix in Sisteron, France where our key contact with Breitling was very pleased having been up in a glider for the first time. And our other major sponsor Red Bull is well on their way with another successful season in co-operation with us.

We got the support from all commissions to go ahead planning for the next World Air Games and I hope I will shortly be able to give you some exciting news here!

The next General Conference in October has been moved from Bangkok to Pattaya and we are closely following the developments in Thailand. At this Conference it is time for elections (as we have every two years) and I am pleased to inform you that I am running for re-election – which (if elected) will be my last term since for the President there is a maximum of six years in office. I support fully the applications for re-election that will be presented by the Executive Board Directors – you cannot think of a more dedicated and hard working voluntary team – each of them has, as you know various portfolios and in each of these there is a lot of positive activity. For our new management I feel it is important to have as much continuity as possible and I ask you kindly to support them.

In a few days we will have the pleasure of having the informal NAC Presidents’ meeting here in my home town Stockholm – I wish those who are able to attend most heartily welcome!

Now get out there, and support our next generation of air sport persons!

Soft landings,

John Grubbström      
FAI President