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)
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.
"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".
One week after the milestone of the European Parliament recognizing and willing to take actionagainst social dumping, p2f included, the French National Assembly issued its own related answer this 20th of September, courtesy Deputé Fernand Siré:
"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
_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
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.
We originally intended to cover the February 12-13th ECA conference now more than a year ago (picture above) on Atypical Employment but 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.
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
Following our previous coverage of Royal Air Maroc's (RAM) refutation of P2F collaboration, despite already proven deals, the time has come to probe the existence of its ties with the rampant cartel involving P2F advocateBaltic Aviation Academy(BAA).
RAM Initial claims
"Slanderous allegations aired on the "Pièces à conviction" TV show. [BAA's] claims according which [our] company resorts to foreign pilot training without "requiring prior evaluation", are untrue [as we] never collaborated with [them] [...] The producers relied on a bogus testimony to bolster erroneous conclusions [so we] will sue"_source
We contacted Julien Fournier that agreed to share his mail exchange with anonymized BAA Projects ManagerRenata Kudabaitė, prior the release of the TV show. We enhanced authentication with the provision of Ms Kudabaite's business card collected on site (both recto and verso):
"Regarding your questions: You are right, [€62,5k for RAM] are only for line training [...] during [which] there is no salary [...] To start any of [these] programs, pilot needs to have TR already [...] For [...] RAM and Vietjet, pilots can apply with TR from other ATO's [than BAA]".
The network - insider revelations
Comes the story of John.
Instead of accepting a P2F proposal with Blue Air in Romania, John, B737 Type Rated at BAA's in july 2014, settled for 500 hours with RAM like 27 other pilots, as shown in his communication with BAA Project ManagerIngrida Reket:
Vilnius-based aviation conglomerate Avia Solutions Group (ASG) trading in Warsaw since 2010 (€12m turnover in 2015) oversees 20 services firms in Baltic countries mostly, Russia, Cyprus and the UK (Storm Aviation Ltd) as well as Indonesia (Avia Technics Dirgantara). Chaired by Lithuanian oligarch Gediminas Ziemelis, since 2013 the group capitalizes on Deputy CEO Daumantas Lapinskas's network, former Lithuanian Vice Minister of Economy.
John met CasaAero Technical Director Abdel Ilah Zamrane, that coordinated his ground courses between Jan.6 and 17 2015, a test on Feb.4, other courses between Feb.11 and 23, and the final exam the 23. The sim check didn't take place until May 19. Due to several delays, John rated Mr Zamrane's services as "disorganized, disrespectful and unprofessional".
ATCT gave rise to indivuals like Tarek Benaissi, Quality Manager and contact of the firm. He can be seen "pimping" pilots for Qatar Airways, on social networks here and there, and "recruiting" platforms such as DirectaeroJobs for Lybia or even... on AviationCV of course (see above) !
At this point, every middle man providing no discernible services whatsoever, walks away with a commission... except for the actual pilot. Mercifully, we omitted the involvement of RAM with EagleJet, yet another P2F broker...
Worst, by May 19,
John and his colleagues waited for
their moroccan licences, badges, uniforms
and be transfered from CasaAero to RAM. One last training day took place in June 9, after which flights were supposed to happen. Mr Tritar tried to reassure his "customers" in June 12, only for John to figure out in Aug.25 only 3 or 4 Captains were willing to fly with them.
Disgusted, John left RAM in Aug.26, 2 pilots having left already with 6 others to follow a few months later. Over 27 pilots, only 3 had their agreement honored and flew with RAM. Judiciary action was attempted but rebutted.
Already getting media attention for all the wrong reasons, one of our readers drew our attention on the Avia Solutions Group. As a reminder, the Lithuanian holding (overseeing 20 services firm) owns the largest eastern p2f cashing machine known to date:
Reviving Greek mythology, it seems Avia Solutions wants us to believe in Sirens, beautiful creatures luring nearby sailors pilots with enchanting commercial songs to shipwreck transfer money on the rocky coast of their island exotic bank accounts.
Well, we have bigger fish to fry. Either successful models are extremely playful, or someone somewhere understood 96% of pro pilots are male ! Mr Linas Dovydenas might want to check on the tooth fairy, this one is up to no good :
This March 23 aired a French TV report about p2f notably (with our proud participation), exposing Small Planet Airlines, Vietjet and Royal Air Maroc among the offenders.
We knew since 2012 Royal Air Maroc(RAM) was involved in pay-to-fly, selling 500 work hours 14,000€ through its subsidiary RAM Express via the Toulouse base of the ETOPS intermediary agency (as proves this contract), but it seems media caught up to further facts only today, triggering a scandal long overdue :
We hope this technicality won't distract future investigators from the facts: RAM does make some of their foreign pilots pay to work... while local pilots asked 2 extra years of education to reach engineer degrees remain unemployed for some reasons.