President’s letter May 2023

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I wanted to get this newsletter out to you as some have been asking about information for this year’s conference.  We hope to start taking registrations early in June and information is included in this newsletter.  This year we will using Eventbrite to register and take payments at the same time.  I want to thank the team at St Louis for their hard work and I can assure you we will be in for a great time.

I do want to remind you all that as part of the application process you will need to acknowledge that you have taken out appropriate travel insurance.  We will also ask people to acknowledge that they will take care of their own health and not attend sessions if they feel unwell.

One of the joys I have as President is seeing the impact Chaplaincy has around the globe.  I love hearing your stories and seeing some of our chaplaincies being acknowledged through media and social networks.I am also reminded that we must never take for granted the place we have been given to serve our respective communities.  I find that I remind myself to hold the chaplaincy lightly.  That I am in the airport on the invitation of management and supported by others such as the airlines and ground handlers but at any time they could decide that we are not needed.

I remind myself that we have a part to play and we need to add value to the airport community.I encourage each of you in your place to think about and reflect on the part you play.  Our Chief of Aviation said something profound when answering a question on why does the airport have chaplains.  His response is the airport is made up of hardware (the physical buildings and resources), the software (the technology to run this complex business) and the humanware.  The airport has staff and passengers with many emotions and all sorts of reason to travel and then there are those traumatic things that can happen in our airports.  We provide the humanware in our compassion and unconditional love for our fellow staff and passengers. 

Please be encouraged in what you bring every day in your space.





General characteristics of airport chaplaincy

Researcher’s Introduction

My name is Jilke Veldman and I am a student at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht. I am writing my MA thesis on airport chaplaincy.

The topic of my research is the motivation to become a chaplain at an (international) airport and the ways airport chaplains conduct their work, including how they contact people in need, both travellers and airport personnel, on and around airports, and the support or counselling they provide. This research will provide insight into the use and different forms of presence by airport chaplains.

Your participation is requested because of your experience as an airport chaplain and the support or counselling you provide to people at the airport, both passengers and airport personnel, to see in which way presence is used by airport chaplains. 

An overview:

The study lasts 13 weeks, from March 31, 2023, till June 30, 2023.

If you participate in this study, you will take part in a survey and, if you’d like, a semi structured interview.

A survey:

You will receive a questionnaire by email. Completing the survey takes a maximum of 20 minutes.

You can fill in the questionnaire yourself.

The interview:

This will be an online video-interview.  The interview will last a maximum of 1 hour. If you do not want to answer a question during the interview, you are not required to do so. I will make an audio recording of the conversation.

After the interview you will be sent the transcript and you will have the opportunity to comment on your answers. If you disagree with the transcription, you can ask to have parts of them amended or deleted.

What happens with the results of the study? 

I will share the results with the IACAC so that interested parties can learn about the study.

Full details of the ethical approval, consents and data protection will be provided

If you would like to participate please contact:

Name: Jilke Veldman



It was with great sadness we received the news of the passing of Henri Dammane in Nice. Henri has been a long time member of IACAC and attended many conferences  where he and Denise formed life long frirndships with chaplains from around the world. He served as President from 2007 to 2009 and hosted the 2008  annual conference in Nice. Henri was a devout christian and was laid to rest following a Requiem Mass at Saint-Joseph church in Saint-Laurent-du-Var on Monday March 27. Flowers were laid in the name of ICHTUS and IACAC. Our prayers and sympathy were extend to his daughter, Dominique and her family. May Henri rest in peace and rise in glory.


Our prayers and sympathy are also extended to  the Rev Romeo Dabee from JFK, New York, who sadly lost his mother over Easter. Her funeral service was held on the 15th April and our prayers were  with Romeo at that time. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.


Good news from  Rev Hanna Similä whohas worked hard to establish a chaplaincy at Helsinki Airport in Finland. She has been able to establish an agreement with the airport management, Finavia, and celebrated the opening of a Quiet Room within the airport in January.  As the first airport chaplain in Finland she has attracted a large amount of media attention,(one TV interview, twice on radio and up to ten newspaper articles)  during which she has spoken of the great support she has received from her IACAC colleages. For this she is very grateful as she does not feel alone. During one interview she was asked what ‘Holy’ means to her. Her reply “ The trust that in the upper most control tower there is always someone who is awake and hears us” rings true for each of us. Hanna is an inspiation to us all and we look forward to hearing more about the development to the Chaplaincy in Helsinki.


The chaplaincy at Melbourne Airport has also attracted some media interest with a TV film crew spending five hours with members of the team filming a day in the life of the chaplaincy. The segment went to air as part of the daily news broadcast on the 1st of April. It can be viewed on the Melbourne Airport Chaplaincy Facebook page.


 Fr Gabriel Feyisetan from Lagos, Nigeria sends his greetings  and thanks very much for the Newsletter. He asks that God may bless us in our daily struggle to win the victory of glory and be among the family of saints. Gabriel went on to say,”May God guide and grant us the grace of Eternal Easter. Bless you all happy preparations for our next conference.  Greetings to our beloved colleagues, God bless you all. Have a blessed week and a blessed month”.


The team at Nairobi Airport gathered together for a day of fellowship and growth. Those chaplains who attended the Nairobi conference in person or online have many wonderful memories of the friendship offered by the Nairobi team. The Airport Chalaincy in Nairobi  is one of the longest existing airport chaplaincies in Africa and it is wonderful to see it going from strength to strength.

Major Melvyn B. Ackroyd

Greetings to you and to all who remember Betty and me from our days at Heathrow.  As you will recall, we retired in November 2012 after serving an extra 2 years before retiring.  It is always interesting to receive the IACAC Newsletter – thank you – and to catch up a little on what is happening in the IACAC world. After retirement I served as a hospital chaplain for 8 years before Covid got in the way and I had to stop frequenting the hospital because of my age and the danger being there imposed on me.  Unfortunately, getting back proved an issue mostly because Betty’s health has deteriorated and I didn’t feel it appropriate for leaving her alone for long periods of time.   I’m still doing a form of chaplaincy, visiting other retired SA officers with Betty in tow.    I’m also the Vice President of the Retired Officers Fellowship in South London and editor of their magazine.  So I keep myself busy! We have wonderful memories of IACAC. Betty joins me in sending our greetings. Major Melvyn B. Ackroyd

2023 Annual Conference – Update

We, the St. Louis Airport Interfaith Chaplaincy (STAIC), wish to invite the International Association of Civil Aviation Chaplains IACAC to St. Louis, for the 2023 Annual Conference

October 22, 2023, to October 27, 2023.

Our theme will be,

“Embracing God in Airport Chaplaincy.”

Our conference speakers will be Rabbi Mark Shook, Professor Shima Rostami, ­­­­­­­­­­­Fr. Thomas McDermott OP, and Fr. Adrian.

The cost is still to be confirmed. A formal invitation for the conference will be coming soon.

We hope you are planning to join us in St Louis.

 We are excited and looking forward to serving the IACAC in 2023.

Deacon Jim Martin, President Emeritus

Rev Rodrick Burton, President

President’s letter April 2023

April 2023

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I can’t believe how fast time is going by.  Maybe it’s because I am older and I certainly want to make every moment count.

I guess, you, like us in Melbourne seem to be getting busier and busier as the airline industry reconnects the world.

One of the things I am finding that is causing stress amongst staff is the language being used around the Pandemic.  For example, how busy we are in passenger numbers is always being measured against pre pandemic numbers.  What I am finding is this is causing stress to staff especially new staff who have no idea what the airport was like pre pandemic.

I think we should be thinking that pre pandemic was an era.  Then we had the pandemic which wiped out most of our industry for a long time and now we are in a new age, with new staff, new travel expectations from our passengers and so we need to create a new dynamic era based on what is today and into the future.Maybe we can be the catalyst for this discussion and help our industry see a new future as the world reconnects.

I did mean to write this prior to Easter and so I want to acknowledge the celebrations and remembrance many have shared from different faiths through Passover, Easter both Orthodox and Christian and for our Muslim friends, Ramadan. I have taken the time myself to do a real fast from food for twenty one days and not only did I feel detoxed and better but I was able to spend quality time in spiritual reflection and prayer.  It has become a special time which I plan on repeating two or three times through the year.

To each of you I want you to know you are valued and we celebrate the amazing privilege we have to serve our airport communities across the globe.

Ramadan Mubarak

Eternal God of all the generations, we welcome this festival of freedom with joyful hearts. We have assembled together seeking Your presence. As You redeemed our ancestors from the slavery of Egypt and led them to the land of their inheritance, so have You been our Redeemer and Protector throughout the centuries.

And may you know the peace and joy of our risen Lord.

Bless you all


President IACAC

Melbourne Airport