cockpitseeker

30Oct/170

MEDIA: P2F going mainstream

The comics

Released today in the November bimonthly issue of french magazine "Piloter", pay-to-fly gets, to our knowledge, its first dedicated professional comics highlight! Leading the charge is scenarist, photograph and comics artist Christophe Gibelin.

Throughout the eight glossy pages of the booklet, glider pilot Gibelin draws a humoristic yet cringeworthy critic of aviation's dirty secret, airline pilots paying to perform their work. We take this opportunity to thank Mr Gibelin for having chosen this topic.

French readers from all walks of life will appreciate this easy-to-read entry point. English digital version to come.

The book

We couldn't find the time to announce it earlier: published October 12th today last year (!), French journalist for Le Monde Valérie Segond investigated labour-cost reducing methods "in a country where we are sworn work is expensive and the Labour Code very strict" in a book titled "Va-t-on payer pour travailler" (Are we going to pay to work?).

Along her 300 pages journey, Ms. Segond painstakingly reviews a vast array of work sectors where different employment status -ranging from volunteers to so called "stagiaire" to full-blown employees- and contractual arrangements are put under close scrutiny. Because the devil is in the detail, readers will find even words definition such as "work time" are stretched and bent to fit disturbing realities.

Picture is progressively drawn of technicalities purposefuly designed to circumvent the safety net of labour rules, where the code is gamed and the market is rigged, leading to a chilling dissection of what turns out to be the ins and outs of French social profiteering.

A 101 bedtime book for CEOs... or a survival guide of all conceivable caveats of modern day job hunting, depending on your point of view.

We encourage french readers to form their own opinion and wish to thank Ms. Segond for her contribution towards a better understanding of the job market and aviation in particular.

The warning

Because raising awareness also starts before choosing a career path, final mention goes to the European Cockpit Association (ECA) with the "Becoming a pilot" website released on September 13th. Pay-to-fly is part of the fray, as should be for every future generations.

Filed under: p2f No Comments
26Jun/170

#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:

fullscreen

  • 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.

Filed under: p2f No Comments
29May/170

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.

Filed under: p2f No Comments
16Feb/170

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.

Excerpts

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.

Filed under: p2f No Comments
5Oct/160

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
Filed under: Frontrunning, p2f No Comments
26Sep/162

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.

fullscreen

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.

Edit Oct.4th 2016: attorney communication received for alleged defamation.

Filed under: p2f 2 Comments
13Aug/160

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.

Filed under: p2f No Comments
23May/161

Royal Air Maroc : lies exposed

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 advocate Baltic 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

Testimonial credibility

We contacted Julien Fournier that agreed to share his mail exchange with anonymized BAA Projects Manager Renata 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 Manager Ingrida 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.

Pilots can also come from AviationCV, the advertising platform (50 hiring partners)...
... and benefit from loans via Cypriot Pilot Management Services (PMS - known for blackmailing pilots) as these documents attest in a deal with Small Planet Airlines, also owned by ASG until 2013.
BAA's Project Managers, such as Mrs Reket (L) & Mrs Kudabaité (R), relay necessary communications to the pilot...
...under the supervision of their Deputy Sales Director, at the time of John's agreement, a Simon Portnoj.
The tripartite 1st agreement involves the pilot with Tritar Consulting Services (TCS), a firm based in Sousse, Tunisia, to which is due a downpayment of €27.5k prior starting ground school...
...TCS being led by Tritar Mansour (that John met Jan.3 2015 in Casablanca), a Sousse local personality (former Rotary club President) and Flight Administration Manager of low cost Nouvelair.
The 3rd party in the 1st agreement is administrated by Zied Zerelli, a former Deputy Consul of the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, namely...
...Type Line Training (TLT), registered in Casablanca, Morocco, to which €10k is due upon airline enrollment, another €10k prior starting the sim sessions and €8k after the first flight.

The 2nd agreement is between TCS and Royal Air Maroc. The airline "enrolls" John by screening his titles and selling the flight hours as training.

Another Sousse LLC registered in sept. 2011 was officially aquired by TCS in July 7 2015: Type and Train (TT), that also provides p2f pilots...
... and works "very closely" with Brookfield Aviation, Ryanair's former p2f dealer, selling the job worldwide to this day.
Thus, Tunisair also makes pilots pay to work since 2012 (at least), as shown in a contract edited by Mr Tritar, where 300h sold 56,950€.

RAM then uses CasaAero, its 2005 joint venture with Boeing Flight Training (a Boeing subsidiary) where ground school and sim sessions are performed.
Mr Tritar already working for Nouvelair, it is no surprise TT sells them p2f, as was done as early as 2012 as shown here and there for €62,5k and €59,65k respectively.
Along with Karthago Airlines, also from Tunisia...
...the 3 Tunisian airlines founded ATCT in April 2005 with 2 banks (BH et BNA), EASA TRTO granted in oct.2010, notable stockholders Thales and Airbus, processing P2Fers within this facility.
Since 2012 at least, RAM express also sold 500 work hours €14k via the Toulouse base of the Hong-Kong-registered Malaysian ETOPS LTD
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...

Defrauding "customers"

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.

Verdict: guilty

In an industry infested with parasites (such as P2F father Thomas Cooper, disreputable Jean-Marc Bollinger, delusional Michael Hickey, infamous Stephane Hoinville), a sad day has come when a national airline covertly indulges in villainy with pimps and racketeers of that ilk.

In the hubristic exercise of denial that followed, RAM flushed its credibility down the toilet, while the truth remained like the feces that wouldn't.

Edit June 10th: "to put out the fire, RAM had to halt their P2F, grounding several of their aircraft"_Source

Filed under: p2f 1 Comment