European petition against “Pay to fly”

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European Parliament – pilots’ interest

Date:Day #9 of the "Stop pay fo fly" campaign, (May 7th, 2015), 1500-1700.
Event: European Parliament (EP) meeting - Committee on Employment and Social Affairs - Current situation of employment and working conditions in the European civil aviation sector. --Exchange of views with experts. EMPL(2015)0507_1

[ECA vice president John Horn (second from the right) at the EP with his team and a SNPL member_picture courtesy ECA]

Since only Irish Examiner covered the event, the following is our best attempt to do so from the inside in the most suitable way.

Backstage plot - politics

--MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) from the EMPLOYMENT & TRANSPORT Committee of the European Parliament to put a parliamentary question before the European Commission on P2F--

Awareness on the P2F issue is growing in the European Parliament following the growing success of our petition and the latest events (ECA Conference on Atypical Work, hearing at the Transport Commitee, personal contacts with members of the European parliament).

German MEP Ms Jutta Steinruck has been present in many of these events and made several interventions pleading for the end of abusive employment practices in aviation, highlighting P2F in particular.
We have learned that she has now put a written parliamentary question to the Commission, co-signed with other MEPs.

Stakeholders - defending general interest

[Mrs Chicca, Mr Horne and Mr Turnbull from foreground to background]

During the EP meeting, in order, intervened among the expert speakers:

  • Emmanuelle Jahan, European and International Social Dialogue Commitee Chairman and permanent social affairs representative of Air France-KLM in Brussels (1)
  • Elisabetta Chicca, Chair of the Cabin Crew Committee for the ETF (European Transport workers Federation) (2),
  • John Horne, ECA Vice-President and professional pilot (3)
  • Peter Turnbull, Professor of Human Resource Management and Labour Relations at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, (4)
  • Lien Valcke and Dirk Gillis, Coordinator of IRIS (International Research Institute on Social fraud), both European study co-authors (5)

Were voiced clearly, the aviation sector challenges, namely:

  • Unfair competition due to labour outsourcing, social contribution evasion and subsidy bias; flags of convenience with intermediary businesses setups, fiscal imbalance (1);
  • Social security rules for mobile staff, abnormal use of precarious and temporary workers that ultimately endangers European jobs, wages and safety (2);
  • Atypical employment (zero hours contracts, P2F...), authorities rules enforcement and oversight, home base, visa rules for air crew (3);
  • Social dumping through fake independent workers (Ireland, Ryanair & bogus self employment) (4);
  • European study proceedings & findings presentation (5).

[full video transcript available at]

More than voicing concerns, our stakeholder representatives issued solutions and alternatives, which should be praised and looked at very carefully (apprenticeship instead of p2f?).
Together with the recent Danish report on "social dumping & rule shopping in aviation" where, quote:

"The EASA has also, following a Danish submission and at the request of the European Commission, initiated an analysis of the possible impact of the new business and employment models on aviation safety"._page 7

...that complements fairly well 2014's French National Assembly report on passengers' safety in air transport, we are now looking forward to said EASA findings...

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P2F: European Parliament

A few days ago, on Day #2 (april 30th) of the campaign to "Stop Pay To Fly", just as we finished discussions at VNV's office that concluded with their open support the same day:

...we learnt that the topic would be raised at an EP (European Parliament) small Hearing this 7th of May afternoon in the EP EMPL (Employment) Committee, where the Ghent University, Cardiff University, ECA, AEA and ETF (which all played a role in shaping the European study on atypical employment) will make presentations and engage in Q&A with the related MEPs (Members of the European Parliament).

We hold good faith in our representatives and hope their political interlocutors will fully appreciate the seriousness of the situation.


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Official launch: P2F campaign!

Today April 28th 2015, all hands on deck, the European Cockpit Association officially launched the campaign to Stop "pay to fly".

Pay-to-fly must stop! from EuropeanCockpitAssociation on Vimeo.

Must read include:

And now we leave it to anyone to wonder on the facts: is something wrong with our industry?


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A cut above

Of all the "businesses" that "offer" to pay to work (aka debt servitude or leverage to threaten pilots), there is one that remains a cut above the rest:

Eagle Jet: "pay a measy 87,500€ and you will fly 1000 hours as an A320 airline pilot, no salary and no employment guaranteed (assessment cost not included)"! (Make haste, vacancies are closing this month!!!)

This is what it takes to find a job and set a new low in the aviation industry, considering this is just a legal "game".
It makes anyone wonder: Where. Are. Our. Regulators? Unless our Authorities regain a sense of dignity and accountability, next crash is on them.

[pdf file]

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Safety, begone!

Quoting Dominique Fouda, EASA's Head of Communication & Quality Department in summer 2014:

"The fact that airlines make their personnel pay does not intervene in aviation safety regulation, as long as pilots are technically qualified" _source

Today we will debunk this statement again with another document. Fast backward.

July 10th 2013, a Project Manager and former Flight Ops IT Super User from Ryanair created this document:

[Congratulations "CIOFRI" (now flying in Asia)! // "SALAIS", you've been a bad bad boy...]

Surprisingly enough, this document (sometimes followed by a reminder via mail to "comply with SOP") appeared after July 26th 2012, when three Ryanair flights made 'mayday' emergency landings for low fuel reasons (as was heavily covered worldwide), even after the CIAIAC's investigation (that was included in 2010 RYR's other accident report) and IAA's recommendation "to review fuel policy".

How similar documents might have influenced the events of 2012 (and possibly before) remains unclear, however much worrying is what little might have changed (internal sources allege the 'fuel league' stopped summer 14).

Just like "pay to play/fly" scenarios, isn't financial pressure an undesirable leverage on safety? Let alone human factors (in this era where airlines pride themselves on CRM). We must assume:

"The fact that airlines make their personnel pay take liberties with safety culture does not intervene in aviation safety regulation, as long as pilots are technically qualified comply with minimum legal fuel requirements" ?

At this point, our Regulators can drop the pretense for concern:

"Safety does not intervene in safety as long as it's legal"

There we go! No wonder the system is gamed...

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IFALPA in the fight

In the recently published issue n°2, 2015 of "InterPilot", The Safety and Technical Journal of none other than IFALPA (our International Federation of Air Line Pilot’s Associations), must-read elements were showcased!

Aviation related issues were brought "to the top" thanks to the ECA sustained efforts in spreading the study carried out on behalf of the European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Civil Aviation by the University of Ghent (Belgium) and funded by the European Commission!

Why of course this includes "pay to fly"!


We quote: "Next Generation Pilots Pay-to-Fly".
Where have we heard that again? Oh that's right, during the ECA conference (last 12-13 february, where we stood up):

P2F perpetrators bring it on. We have plenty more where that came from.



Pilots under pressure: retaliation exposed

The document below is the indeniable evidence why pilots might in some case not report biased practices in the aviation sector. More specifically here, pilots that pay to work.

[full screen]

As was known to us since august 2014 and confirmed by the March 11, 2015 Norwegian NRK report (that we translated here), Cyprus based Pilot Management Services indeed works hand in hand with Lithuanian Small Planet Airlines to provide a hefty mandatory loan (35,000€) in order for the pilot to work for them.

As a "ready-to-be-sent", the existence of this document alone is proof pilots are threatened with their careers shall they disclose/disagree with/complain about anything that would unplease management.

Fortunately according to the EASA: "the fact that airlines make their personnel pay does not intervene in aviation safety regulation, as long as pilots are technically qualified" _source

Right... passengers worldwide can feel much safer now. What a relief!
Case closed. Or so it seems.

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Pay to fly: the definition

Started September 24th 2014, and after a rejection for Christmas, following 6 months of work:

I'm not going to succeed making those words sound as important as they are (at least to me), but having a definition entering wikipedia seems much like adding a word to the dictionary:
pieces of inalienable truth are unveiled.

Will that truth be perverted (changed, edited by P2F perpetrators, corrupted)?
Time will tell. What remains sure is, the enemy is now clearly in sight, and young pilots will put up the good fight.

We will stop "pay to fly".

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