European petition against “Pay to fly”

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#EUaviation25 – P2F in Germany

The European Commission celebrates today the 25 years of the EU Aviation Market that started June 26th 1992. It is with delight that we chime in amidst prayers of travel ever cheaper, safer and open to more people than ever before.

Quotes - Here is one

In a campaign exercise of quotes, ranging from European Commissioner for Transport to Airport and Airline CEOs, we thought only fair to quote yet another CEO.

Assuming a thriving Aviation market following 25 years of liberalization in one of the countries it served best, we quote Mr Karsten Balke, Germania's CEO:

The very idea of such an egregious practice to make airline pilots pay to work is ludicrous.

Surely 25 years of "changes that have propelled European mobility forward, [...] bring[ing] Europeans closer together and providing solid foundations for more jobs" didn't spell engineered contractual doom and apocalyptic working conditions of chaos.

You live in "La La Land"

It turns out, March 2015 Germania's CEO quote was untrue in content. During the same time frame:

  • A Schiphol-based (Netherlands) company called Flight Simulation Company - Training (FSC-T) intermediated, on pilots' behalf, temporary labor agreements between the latter and an "Airline-Partner"
  • The Airline-Partner is Germania Fluggesellschaft with which FSC-T had a framework agreement, as can be seen below:


  • FSC-T charged 58,900 € (VAT inclusive) to make available a A320 type rating training program...
  • ...and a minimum grand total of 1000h block on A318/319/320/321 aircraft including Line Flying under Supervision (LIFUS) and Line Flying (LIF) experience on aircraft it couldn't possibly own !
  • Price included intermediation towards a temporary labour agreement with the "reputable airline" for conducting the LIFUS and LIF

In other words through a Dutch "training" company, "reputable" Germania agreed to sell 1000 work hours (with passengers) to pilots on the A320 series at €58,9k.

This is Europe today after 25 years. A serious wake-up call is long overdue.

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P2F: German TV report

Following a first report in April last year, "Das Erste" released what is to our knowledge the 2nd German TV broadcast to explain and put into context the "pay-to-fly" (p2f) phenomenon.

This report also hits the mark on a wide range of previously covered topical issues including:

Our sincere gratitude to Nienke Groenendijk, sworn certified translator for the English and Dutch language at the district court of Amsterdam, for her continuous support and dedication to provide quality subtitles in various European languages.

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EP – Aviation Strategy approved

Echoing the “Social dumping in the EU” report approved by the EP earlier in September, today Feb. 16th has been approved the “Aviation Strategy for Europe”. Though a political text (to be released) with no direct legislative value, the Parliament takes position and calls the EU Commission and Member states to take action. Vote result as follows:

  • 397 MEPs in favour - near entirety of big political groups (EPP, S&D and ALDE).
  • 99 against (radical left and Greens prominently)
  • 49 abstained

The choice to support social concerns

The Strategy, from competitiveness to consolidation and environmental concerns, encompasses amendments proposed by front-line stakeholders, notably:

  • Article 9 on Air Transport Agreements with third countries, calls for “high safety standards, appropriate labour and social standards and participation in the market-based climate change instrument for air transport emissions and, in air transport agreements, to ensure equal market access, equal ownership conditions and a level playing field based on reciprocity”;
  • Article 40 calls for clarification of Home Base and Principal Place of Business;
  • Article 41 calls for continued scrutiny of safety implications of atypical work;
  • Article 41 addresses zero-hour contracts, pay-to-fly schemes, bogus self-employment, third countries crew on EU-registered aircraft, just culture;
  • Article 44 calls for the respect of workers’ rights,
  • Article 45 calls for high employment standards and to stop the intra-EU race to the bottom;
  • Article 45 calls upon “the Commission and the Member States to present proposals on how to prevent indirect employment being misused to circumvent EU and national legislation on taxation”;
  • Article 46 calls for the respect of union and workers’ organisation rights;
  • Article 47 calls to clarify applicable labour law for workers.


Report aside, remarkable highlights from the morning debate in the Parliament about the text include MEP Van Dalen (NL) 's mention of the issue of fatigue (ref. FTL) and the London School of Economics study;

"Let me be clear on this: the same safety standards must apply, regardless of the employment conditions"._Commissioner Bulc

Seemingly knowing better than the April 2015 preliminary results of the EASA experts of the Rulemaking Advisory Group tasked to assess the impact of new business models on safety, MEP Jacqueline Foster (UK) announced her voting against the report given the clauses on social standards:

"The report’s statement that pilots flying under precarious working conditions constitute a safety risks for passengers in Europe is completely false, totally misleading, and shows breathtaking ignorance".

Breathtaking indeed.

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Captains of the Industry

CockpitSeeker celebrates today its 6th year anniversary! After 3 years of absence, our cartoonist is back in a color-blazing piece for the occasion:

_"I wanted to try something more elaborated than usual by going satirical on European companies. Dialogue reflects many news point voracious readers will recognize. I only had to adapt Mr De Juniac's lines since he was no longer AF-KLM CEO by the time I finished the piece! I hope the blindness and ridicule behind personnel management today will strike a chord among the deaf so everyone understands what's at stakes here!"

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Frontrunning: October 5

  • "Social Dumping in the EU" report approved by the European Parliament, p2f on board (edit fev.17': final version here)_sept.14th
  • Three Swiss pilot unions have merged into AEROPERS – Airline Pilots Association:
    former AEROPERS-SwissALPA (Union of Swiss International Air Lines), IPG (Union of Swiss Global Air Lines) and EPA (Edelweiss Pilots Association)_oct.1st
  • Layoffs:
    _Air Berlin, 1200 pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and ground staff dismissed
    _Virgin America, 225 staff members within a week
    _Turkish Airlines, 211
    _Airservices Australia, 180
    _Malaysia Airlines, 6000
    _Tunisair, 1000
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Condor Pilot Training oddities

Icarus melt his wings aiming for the sun? Pilots could melt theirs, aiming at the eluding first job in rumors that emerged early 2016 of extended delays after having paid initial sums to Spain-based Condor Pilot Training (not to be confused with Condor -German airline- and its ab initio program).

The usual start - a job "offer"

As seen on AviationCV, proposals include a 737 or A320 Type Rating, payment of up to €79,9k to work 500 to 1000 flight hours and an alleged 2 years renewable contract with a never-revealed airline partner in South America (Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador). At times, a $2.000 monthly salary is provided during the pay-to-fly scheme.


Will this give you pause?

CEO Jesus Funes Navarro also introduced a waiver for all cadets to sign to surrender their rights to claim, attempt recourse or otherwise sue his company. Unfortunately, internal sources report:

  • A320 P2F programs at €40k are suffering long postponement (up to ten months) although pilots paid 5 to €6k to book their slot.
  • 737 cadets that renounced the LT over similar delays were not refunded their deposit pay allegedly because they didn't sign the waiver (while signing it purposefully forfeits the claim).
  • Baltic Aviation Academy has been a €27k A320 TR provider (different invoice prices were given depending on the individual) for which the corresponding €27k LT didn't occur to this day.

Adding that management has reportedly disappeared become increasingly difficult to reach and you have, arguably, cause for concern. Pilots, you have been warned.

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Atypical EMPL – 1 year and a half later

ECA - atypical employment in aviation

We witnessed first hand and covered the exposure of Ghent University's work to the European Parliament back in May 2015, however we also intended to cover the February 12-13th ECA conference that occurred beforehand (picture above) on Atypical Employment. Given the cheer amount of information to process at the time, today we will lay back and offer instead a list of notable worldwide articles that were influenced by said conference and, most importantly, the Ghent University study.

Spreading awareness

For future reference and research purposes, there goes a non-exhaustive list of subsequent articles, triggered by Yves Jorens' team, IRIS director and Ghent University author of the atypical employment study.

Articles marked with an X are more geared towards P2F specifically

To be updated as new articles arise.

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From the inside: CEO perspective

From P2F enabler Norwegian Air Shuttle (NAS). Source: internal.

Words from the CEO: Safe Summer Operations
Published:22.06.2016 By:Helene Løken

We are moving into peak season for our operations. As our May traffic figures show we continue to have a record number of customers on our flights.Norwegian is now the world’s sixth largest low-cost airline and with our global expansion plans, we will continue to climb that ladder.

20 years ago we started flying a tiny fleet of Fokker aircraft on a few domestic routes in Norway. In just four years from now, we will have a long-haul fleet of more than 40 Dreamliners and a solid fleet of 737s. This creates opportunities not only for the customers, but also for us working for Norwegian. We have a growing number of dedicated and competent crew operating from 19 bases in 10 countries, as well as competent and dedicated technical personnel, ground handlers and administration staff ensuring that our more than 26 million customers get a high quality experience.

As you are aware of, we are facing some challenges in our summer operations well explained on Red Nose by our Chief Operating Officer Geir Steiro. The top management team and I are doing everything we can to reduce the impact on our vacation-ready passengers.

Our battle to open the U.S. skies for one of our two EU air carriers (NUK or NAI) continues and I am confident that we will get our lawful permit. We got the provisional approval for our Irish carrier (NAI) in mid-April, and we are waiting for an answer for a permit to fly to the U.S. on our UK carrier (NUK). We continue to meet massive support on both sides of the Atlantic. Even Boeing, which normally does not take a public position on political issues, came out supporting us. The EU has stated that they share our impatience, and has encouraged the U.S. Department of Transportation to approve our application without further delay, arguing that declining to do so violates the Open Skies Agreement, an agreement set up to enable more competition in transatlantic travel. When our EU carrier receives its U.S. foreign air carrier permit, we are closer to fulfilling our vision of offering affordable fares to all by connecting our transatlantic routes with future Asian, African and South American routes. By seamlessly connecting the continents, we are able to build a strong and competitive global operation, in line with our strategy.

In Norway we had an important win in our overall battle to secure fair and equal competition. The Norwegian government has finally confirmed that the national rules will be harmonized with EU rules and practices. Our opponents have argued that following EU rules allowing our Thai and US colleagues to work on Norwegian-registered aircraft is a safety issue. This is of course absolute nonsense. Fortunately, the Norwegian government has made its ruling based on facts, which for us specifically means that our U.S. based and Thailand based crew can stay overnight in Norway when flying on Norwegian registered aircraft. In addition, the current restrictions on wet leasing foreign-registered aircraft will be repealed. Through this law amendment, the Norwegian government finally gives a green light for fair competition, which is what we truly believe in.

On another note, I am also very pleased that our UK pilots now have a collective labour agreement in place. At Norwegian, we respect the right to third party representation and work towards establishing local agreements in all markets we operate – if our staff so desire.

Going into peak season, I would like to ask you all to think of what you can do to reduce risk and improve quality in all our operations be it in the office, our technical halls or up in the air. We have strengthened our Group emergency response preparedness by placing it as a Group function. I would like to underscore that all crisis communication and management is based on Norwegian as onebrand. This is important as we have an obligation for the care of our passengers as well as our co-workers and all of us have an important stake in making sure that happens.

I wish you all safe summer operations be it in the air, or on the ground, working together to make sure we together continue to deliver award-winning service to our customers!

Best regards,


The Words from the CEO is open for questions and comments. Comments and questions will be read and answered in a separate questions and answers document in due time.

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