IFATCA - International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations


IFATCA’s logo

The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations (IFATCA) is the worldwide organization representing, in 2011, more than fifty thousand air traffic controllers in 137 countries.


The goals of the Federation are: to promote safety, efficiency, and regularity in international air navigation; to assist and advise in the development of safe and orderly systems of air traffic control and new procedures and facilities; to promote and uphold a high standard of knowledge and professional efficiency among air traffic controllers. To achieve this, IFATCA closely cooperates with national and international aviation authorities, and institutions concerned with air navigation; it sponsors and supports the passage of legislation and regulations which will increase and protect the safety of air navigation


The Federation is still registered in Switzerland (its historic base), but has its headquarters situated in Montréal, Canada, close to ICAO’s headquarters. IFATCA enjoys a worldwide reputation amongst all partners in air traffic management, with representation in many areas including ICAO and EUROCONTROL working-groups.


Netherlands Antilles – 5 May 1982. Issued for the International Year of the Air Traffic Controllers.

Air traffic control has developed from the humblest beginnings into a highly sophisticated and technology-dependent occupation. First proposed in 1956 by Mr. Jacob Wachtel, founder and first chairman of the Israel Air Traffic Controllers’ Association, the idea of a world federation of air traffic controller’s associations become visible in 1961, when a working group was formed and met in Amsterdam, the Netherlands from 19 to 20 October 1961 to prepare the foundation of the European Federation of Air Traffic Controller’s Associations (EFATCA). Quickly, many other national organizations expressed an interest in joining such a federation. So the representative body founded by 12 European countries has grown to the world-wide federation. The Federation has been structured around four areas: Europe, Americas, Asia and Africa-Middle East; each zone can focus on local issues. At the same time, there is also a structure with fields through three committees: the technical committee, the professional committee, and finally the finance committee. Members meet in their region at annual regional meetings and globally at annual conferences.


The International Day of the Air Traffic Controller, celebrated on 20 October each year, not only marks the anniversary of IFATCA, but also reminds the vision of the founding members; it also celebrates the men and women who 24/7 help make air travel the safest possible mode of transport.


First Day Cover issued to commemorate the 16th Annual Conference of the IFATCA,

held in Nicosia, Cyprus from 25 to 29 April 1977.


United Nations - 12 June 1978 - ICAO Safety in the Air

First Day Cover – Colorano Silk cachet, New York cancel – Air Traffic Controller – New York cancel


United Nations - 12 June 1978 - ICAO Safety in the Air

First Day Cover issued by the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) - Aristocrat cachet - Air Traffic Controller – Geneva Cancel



Barbuda – 24 May 1979

30th Anniversary of ICAO

Two controllers working in an Air Traffic Control Centre.

South Africa – 20 October 1989 – Date-Stamp card

International Day of the Air Traffic Controllers



Botswana – 30 June 1994

50th Anniversary of ICAO

Gutter pair showing two controllers working

at the console in the control tower

at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, Gaborone.

Swaziland – 30 November 1994

50th Anniversary of ICAO

Controllers working at the console in air traffic control tower.