Asia Campus Students Make Connections at International Air Traffic Controllers Conference

Asia Campus Students Make Connections at  International Air Traffic Controllers Conference
Embry-Riddle Asia Campus Director of Student Success Kim Chua (left) at the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Conference with students including Sebastien Contoret (second from left) and Ganesh Balashanmugam (far right).

Asia Campus Students Make Connections at International Air Traffic Controllers Conference

From networking and connecting with aviation industry leaders to staying on top of the latest innovations in air traffic management technology, a group of students from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Asia Campus spent several days in April at the center of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA) conference.

Held at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel in Singapore, the global event gave students the chance to exchange ideas with industry leaders from all over the world as they boosted their understanding of the current aviation landscape.

Embry-Riddle Students Shine at Industry Showcase

“As a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, participating in the IFATCA conference was an incredible opportunity,” said B.S. in Aeronautics major Ganesh Balashanmugam (’25).

Between April 19 and 24, Embry-Riddle students and faculty staffed a booth that showcased the university’s programs, new research initiatives and ongoing dedication to helping train tomorrow’s aerospace industry workforce.

“Working at our university's booth and engaging with industry professionals allowed me to gain valuable insights into the latest innovations in air traffic control technology,” Ganesh said. “I was particularly inspired by the discussions on enhancing safety and efficiency in aviation. This experience has not only broadened my understanding of the field but also helped me build meaningful connections that I believe will be crucial for my future career in the aerospace industry.”

The booth was also a meeting point that fostered lively interactions between students, faculty members, industry professionals and conference attendees. It served as another example of the opportunities Embry-Riddle provides for students to learn, make connections and grow personally and professionally.

"Attending the IFATCA conference in Singapore was an incredible experience,” said Sebastien Contoret (’25), also an Aeronautics major. “Representing Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Asia, I had the opportunity to interact with air traffic controllers from around the world and participate in insightful breakout sessions. This exposure allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the latest developments and challenges that air traffic controllers face in the aviation industry, broadening my perspective and enriching my knowledge. It was a transformative event that has significantly contributed to my academic and professional growth."

Conference Focuses on the Future of ATC

As a global group, IFATCA’s stated mission is to enhance air traffic safety, promote the air traffic control profession and shape the future of air traffic management.

This year’s conference, the 63rd for the organization, drew representatives from nearly 100 associations and also saw the election of Helena Sjöström as IFATCA’s first female President and CEO. A veteran of over 35 years in air traffic control working for the Swedish ANSP LFV, she has worked in all three branches of ATC: Tower, Approach and Area Control. Since 2016, Sjöström has been the Watch Supervisor at Stockholm ATCC, responsible for the center's operations.

During her closing remarks, Sjöström said that IFATCA “needs to continue to foster an inclusive and collaborative culture of excellence by promoting international cooperation among air traffic controllers, facilitating the exchange of best practices, and setting rigorous standards for safety, efficiency and professionalism. IFATCA should actively engage with regulatory bodies, industry stakeholders and academia to ensure our standards are at the forefront of global aviation.”

Lim De Wei, President of the Air Traffic Controllers Association Singapore, said partnerships with schools such as Embry-Riddle Asia will help build a solid talent pipeline for tomorrow’s ATC workforce.

"It is important for university students to attend professional conferences and industry events, as these platforms provide real-world insights, help them understand the latest industry trends and challenges and bridge the gap between academic learning and practical applications,” he said. “Such events also offer valuable opportunities to network, enabling students to build connections that can lead to internships and job offers. Additionally, hearing from industry leaders and professionals offers inspiration and motivation to students as they explore and define their career paths."