Washington, DC, March 4, 2014 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) joins with others in the international business aviation community in marking the passing, and life-long contributions, of Dr. Assad Kotaite, member and former council president to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), who passed away on Feb. 27 at age 89.
Kotaite joined ICAO in 1953 as a member of the Legal Committee, and served as Lebanon's council representative from 1956 to 1962, and again from 1965 until July 1970. He also held the positions of chairman of the Air Transport Committee; second vice president of the ICAO Council; member and vice chairman of the ICAO Finance Committee; and chairman of the Working Group on ICAO Financial Regulations.
After serving as secretary general of ICAO for six years, Kotaite was named president of the Council of ICAO in August 1976. He served in that role until his retirement on July 31, 2006, after 53 years of service to the organization, at which time he was named ICAO's first-ever president emeritus.
Bill Stine, retired NBAA director of international operations, noted that Kotaite was instrumental in ensuring the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), which represents business aviation associations from around the world, was recognized with official observer status to ICAO.
"IBAC petitioned for official ICAO recognition less than a year after its founding in 1981," Stine recalled. "From the beginning, Kotaite recommended that IBAC participate in council panels and committees to demonstrate our commitment to serving civil aviation.
"Soon after that petition, IBAC was named a participant in the Future Air Navigation System Committee,” Stine said. “Kotaite was instrumental in providing IBAC with that initial means of participation."
IBAC Director of Regulatory Affairs Ray Rohr further noted that Kotaite supported industry stakeholders’ efforts to bring about the modernization of ICAO standards for general aviation operations under Annex 6, Part II.
"The original standards had received limited amendment since their implementation in 1969, and didn't sufficiently address modern business aircraft operations," Rohr said. "As a demonstration of his confidence in IBAC and the industry, Kotaite suggested to [then-IBAC Director General] Don Spruston that the industry take the lead to establish a committee and draft revisions for ICAO consideration.
"We assumed that ICAO would substantially rework our first draft through committee, but instead that draft was largely accepted and implementation was expedited," Rohr added. Those revisions became effective in November 2010.
Last year, ICAO presented Kotaite with the 40th Edward Warner Award in recognition of his diplomatic contributions to the development of international civil aviation, and for his emphasis on finding collaborative solutions to industry concerns.
Kotaite's legacy also lives on through ICAO's Assad Kotaite Graduate and Postdoctoral Fellowship Fund, which encourages post-graduate education in developing countries to advance the safety and development of civil aviation.