Airlines preparing the strategy over their recovery plans are facing tough choices, with some getting easily tempted into undermining working conditions or exploiting legal loopholes. This is certainly what at least 9 EU Member States do not want to see. Spain is the latest country to join a coordinated EU Member States effort for a ‘socially responsible COVID-19 aviation recovery’. In a Joint Declaration signed in Dec 2020, Transport Ministers call for a COVID-19 recovery guided by safety, fair & undistorted competition and social rights for aviation employees, whilst warning against atypical aircrew employment and social dumping. The Declaration contains an open invitation for other EU Member States to join it.
Runway excursions, the most frequent accident type in aviation, are in the spotlight this month. Data shows that their incidence remains steady despite efforts to reduce them. This is why the industry and aviation organisations came together to hammer out the most important actions to reduce the runway excursion risk. The recently released Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Excursions (GAPPRE) and the soon to be released – GAPPRE Volume II – are the result of these efforts.
European Pilots have contributed extensively to the plan and remain committed to promote its implementation. GAPPRE Volume II will include guidance material and best practices for the implementation of the already published recommendations, covering among others Standard Operation Procedures by the operators and training of operational staff.
A new wave of redundancies among European airlines brings the total number of pilots out of work to over 18.000. More job cuts at KLM, Norwegian’s long-haul operations and easyJet are the latest pandemic blow to aviation workers. The number echoes a recent worldwide estimate by FlightGlobal, which shows approximately 30% of pilots being out of work and 17% being furloughed. Meanwhile, with the dismal flying job picture in their mind, many are looking into alternative job opportunities.
Few pilots are flying, but the ones who are, are faced with an intense schedule. Airlines are stretching flight duty times to the limits, most of them relying on flight time limitation exemptions. On top of this, crews are often faced with burdensome quarantine & testing requirements, reducing or crippling their rest opportunities on the ground. This is why the UK CAA urged pilots to report fatigue. In the rest of Europe, pilots should be aware that the EASA FTL Temporary Exemptions are not a wildcard for airlines. In case of questions or doubts, alert your NAA and your pilot association. And: do submit a report when you encountered fatigue during operations!