European petition against “Pay to fly”

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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.

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RYR – waiting for the other shoe to drop

Not gone unnoticed, Europe's favourite airline announced last week Sept. 16th the cancellation of up to 50 flights per day until October 31th, affecting 315,000 passengers and its own wallet for up to €20m in compensation bill. Admittedly, this brilliant move was a last-ditch effort to comply with a 4-year-coming piece of regulation improve punctuality (!).

The distraction

Scrambling to mitigate the hurdle, Ryanair's notorious COO Michael Hickey offered his pilots the following:

Whether any incentive is left to be found to this "bonus" remains to be proven: in essence, provisions are such that the grant is paid multiple times over with the extra labour required to unlock it! Also, let's not forget to not leave the airline before November 2018...

The real deal

Two days prior (Sept. 14th), the EU Court of Justice published its judgement on the Home Base issue; Ryanair's claim that the nationality of the aircraft should determine the jurisdiction and the applicable law. At long last, the argument “Irish plane, Irish worker” is no more:

  • The Court set the presumption that the Home Base is the habitual place of work for air crews, and thereby the determinant for which national Court has jurisdiction.
  • It allows to challenge the presumption if the base is a bogus one.
  • It states that ‘jurisdiction clauses’ in contracts that limit the employee right to bring proceedings to a court that has jurisdiction under EU law are not enforceable.

Setting a precedent, this judgement will impact all other airlines and brokers with contractual set-ups that use jurisdiction clauses to limit the employees’ rights: from now on, they have clearly been ruled as not enforceable. With more than 70% of pilots flying as 'Irish' self-employed contractors, Ryanair might look at its multi-million-euro roster blunder with nostalgia by comparison.

CEO Mr O'Leary conveniently sold €72m worth Ryanair shares 2 months earlier.


  • Oct.5th: Mr O'Leary pleaded with his pilots to remain at Ryanair.
  • Oct.6th: Michael Hickey announced his resignation, effective at the end of this month.
  • Oct.11th: Ryanair Captain Imelda Comer stepped forward in a missive adressed to Mr. O'Leary and relayed to the members of the European Parliament for fair bargain.
  • Oct.18th: Flight operation manager Elaine Griffin appealed to former staff to return to the airline for improved incentives.
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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 – intimidation

Received 2016-10-04 18:36 GMT+02:00, sent by J P <@>:

Dear Sirs,

My name is J P, attorney at Abanlex, S.L.. Our law firm represents the interests of Condor Pilot, S.L. ("Condor Pilot"), an aeronautical services provider located in Spain.

This letter is based on Condor Pilot's rights and interests under international law and the laws of the United States of America and European Union. I understand you are the owner of the domain name and website, the Facebook profile available at and the Twitter account

The following pages contains infringing material, as defamatory statements, personal and confidential information disclosed from private agreements or false content related to Condor Pilot.

Posting and access provided by you to the abovementioned content is causing serious damages, loss of profit, lost of profile and harm to its reputation, and implies a breach of the terms of use of Facebook and Twitter.

In these sense, I request you to remove or disable all access to the infringing material immediately and, in any event, within 48 hours from your receipt of this communication. If you refuse to fulfill this requirement, we will start legal actions against you.

We have recorded certified evidences of the abovementioned webpages.

I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am authorized to act on behalf of Condor Pilot.


Socio de Abanlex. Abogado.
Sede Central: Velázquez 109, 7º Madrid I | Otras: Zaragoza - Logroño
Teléfonos: (+34) | (+34) | Skype:
Twitter: @ | LinkedIn: /

Este mensaje es confidencial y podrá estar sometido al secreto profesional, por lo que no debe ser compartido con terceros. Por su seguridad, le recomendamos que cifre su mensaje con firma PGP. Sus datos de contacto son gestionados en un fichero de Abanlex para prestarle el servicio que, en su caso, haya solicitado. Puede ejercer sus derechos de acceso, rectificación, cancelación u oposición escribiendo a

Edit 15 Nov.2016: dunning letter received

Dear Sirs,

I have seen that you partially accepted my cease and desist order and changed your post regarding my client Condor Pilot.

As I mentioned in my previous request, the publication of the agreement is a breach of confidentiality, so you are providing illegal access to internal documents property of Condor Pilot. These include specific details regarding the allegued payments.

I request you, once again, to remove any confidential information, specifically the agreement you are publishing without consent. If you continue refusing to fulfill our requirements, we will start legal actions against you.

I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am authorized to act on behalf of Condor Pilot.


Socio de Abanlex. Abogado.
Sede Central: Velázquez 109, 7º Madrid I | Otras: Zaragoza - Logroño
Teléfonos: (+34) | (+34) | Skype:
Twitter: @ | LinkedIn: /

Este mensaje es confidencial y podrá estar sometido al secreto profesional, por lo que no debe ser compartido con terceros. Por su seguridad, le recomendamos que cifre su mensaje con firma PGP. Sus datos de contacto son gestionados en un fichero de Abanlex para prestarle el servicio que, en su caso, haya solicitado. Puede ejercer sus derechos de acceso, rectificación, cancelación u oposición escribiendo a