A Global Aviation Leader will be Missed

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PRESS RELEASE: AIA Mourns Dr. Assad Kotaite


ICAO is a citadel of aviation. This UN body is situated in Montreal, but its processes and pronouncement impact the world’s airways in subtle, yet substantial ways. Dr. Kotaite, whom we mourn, was the master of that edifice.

This native of Lebanon started in 1953 as Chief of Legal Services of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and propitiously his work for the DGCA in that year included an ICAO Legal Council Meeting. He was sent to Canada to serve as his country’s representative to the Council, moved to Secretary General in 1970 and was elevated to Council President in 1976.

There he “presided” for 30 years and that verb overstates his technical power and understates his competence/influence in that chamber. This is an institution, which moves incrementally; its policies result from careful gestation of complex issues with even more disparate impacts on the Member countries. The man who leads this agenda must be patient and an astute measurer of movement. Roberto Kobeh González, President of the ICAO Council remarked about Dr. Kotaite’s skills in giving him the organization’s highest award, as follows:

“Throughout his 30-year tenure as ICAO Council President, he persistently encouraged cooperation and dialogue among ICAO Member States and with the world aviation community. He was a master consensus-builder, a great leader and man of sound judgment, forever guiding global aviation through a competitive and politically complex operating environment.”

Though his tool for quantifying his daily work was a micrometer, Dr. Kotaite’s body of work is assessed on global dimensions.

This man of incredibly diplomatic tact, impressive wisdom and tremendous impact on the aviation world will be missed.

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