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Virtual Committee meetings will continue in 2021

In view of the unabated COVID-19 pandemic the Spring 2021 meetings of the Committees will be held virtually, building on the successful online working arrangements that were put in place during the second half of this year.

Bookings are now open for the Spring 2021 virtual Committee sessions (https://www.iala-aism.org/product-category/calendar/), which are scheduled as follows:

ENAV27: 1 March to 26 March 2021

VTS50:10 to 31 March 2021

ENG13: 22 March to 19 April 2021

ARM13: 13 to 28 April 2021

The VTS-ENAV Symposium in Rotterdam will also take place virtually, from 12 to 16 April 2021.

While face-to-face meetings remain the preferred option, virtual meetings make it possible for each Committee to work over a more extended period of time. The online arrangements not only accommodate the wide variety of time zones but also allow participants to spread the workload, taking account of their other commitments. The VTS49, ARM12 and ENAV 26 meetings thus extended each over four weeks, while ENG 12 ran for three weeks. A staggering number of over 200 sessions were held online from 21 September to 23 October 2020.

Another benefit of the virtual nature of the sessions was that the number of participants was noticeably higher for each Committee. In total, 546 attendees from 35 countries and sister organisations logged on, and 139 participants attended for the first time.

Meeting in an online environment has also meant a welcome increase in cross-committee collaboration and ease of access to all presentations.

It remains IALA policy that face-to-face meetings are the primary means to progress the work programme. The 73rd session of the Council is tentatively planned as a physical meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is scheduled to take place from 7 to 11 June 2021.

However, for as long as virtual meetings are a necessity, IALA has developed online tools that have proved very useful. For the extended technical meetings, these have involved Committee Dashboards, mail groups and a new file sharing system. Committee participants are able at any time to see information about planned meetings, the action plan, the silent approval process, and the presentation schedule.

IALA has also embarked on online webinars to keep members regularly updated on the latest developments. It is the intention to post the webinars and associated presentations on the IALA Youtube channel.