DUBLIN / BRUSSELS - The growth of transnational airlines operating throughout Europe, and further afield, has led pilots to recognise that they must cooperate even more closely and adopt new representation methods to address the challenges arising from these new business models. At a meeting hosted by IALPA on 12 April, Norwegian, SAS, easyJet and Ryanair pilots shared ideas and strategies how to improve Transnational Airline Pilot representation within Europe.
“The EU has created cross-border structures to deal with safety and operational matters, like the European Aviation Safety Agency and to deal with economic liberalisation, but the social structures are missing,” says ECA President Dirk Polloczek following the meeting. “This leaves pilots no other option but to look for their own, creative transnational solutions.”
The rapid expansion of transnational airlines and their ability to adapt their business structures across borders and using multiple Air Operator Certificates (AOCs), requires pilots to be coordinating transnationally.
This coordination translates into close communication and better exchange of information to establish common goals and ways to achieve them. Reaffirming pilot unity across borders and airlines, is the key to improving employment terms & working conditions across the industry.
“People are the very resource that allows airlines to achieve a competitive advantage,” says Martin Stork, President of the Norwegian Pilot Group (NPG). “The key message coming from the meeting is that low cost should not have to equate to low social standards.”
All of the Pilot Groups present at the meeting expressed their willingness to cooperate with their respective airlines in the pursuit of increased efficiency and commonality, whilst looking for ways to provide a solid social framework to make growth both sustainable and equitable. Some airlines are more open to this approach than others, but it is hoped that all airline managements will come to see the significant advantages of transnational cooperation with their pilots.
In addition to pilot representatives from Norwegian, SAS, easyJet and Ryanair Pilot Groups, formed under the ECA umbrella, the meeting was also attended by pilot representatives from France (SNPL France ALPA), the Netherlands (VNV) and Argentina (Asociacion de Pilotos de Lineas Aereas).