01 Nov 2018

New Zealand’s Robert Henderson elected as FAI President

The FAI has a new President: Robert Henderson from New Zealand was elected with a 4-year mandate at the FAI General Conference in Luxor, Egypt last weekend.

The last person from outside of Europe to serve as FAI President was Clifton F von Cann, of the USA, who was President from 1988 to 1990.

About Robert Henderson

Mr Henderson has a background as a senior military officer and pilot and an instructor and, latterly, Training Manager for the Airbus A320 fleet with Air New Zealand. He has been made a Member of the Order of New Zealand for his services to sports aviation and is a glider pilot in his recreational time.

“Being elected by the world air sports community as their President is a great honour and a humbling experience,” he said.

“We are facing a number of challenges as an International Sports Federation, not least of which is finding additional sources of funding.

“I am looking forward to taking on these challenges over the next two years especially.

“There will be a lot of hard work required to move the organisation forward, but we have a great team on the Executive Board and excellent staff working for us in Lausanne and I am confident that, with their assistance, we can make a difference.”

Mr Henderson’s short-term plans

 Mr Henderson has set some key targets as part of his plan for the next three months, including ensuring the World Air Games, in Turkey, planned for 2020, are well organised and efficiently managed.

“This is a tremendous undertaking and involves hundreds of people, the vast majority of whom are volunteers,” he said.

“We owe it to THK, the Turkish organiser and our members and sports people, to focus closely on this event to ensure its success.”

President Henderson lives in New Zealand, which means it will be relatively easy for him to work with FAI Members in Asia, where he notes several countries have major growth potential in the air sports field.

For routine business with the FAI Head Office in Lausanne, Switzerland, he intends to use video conferencing where possible.

“Zoom is a wonderful conferencing tool and we will be making maximum use of this capability to reduce travel time and travel costs,” Mr Henderson said.

“I also want to accelerate the work on our strategic project, ONE FAI, to urgently realise the manpower resource, decision-making and potential cost savings that I believe it will deliver.”