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On 25 and 26 June ECA held its 2nd annual Conference in Brussels. This event was a milestone for our organisation as we welcomed Israel and Morocco as new Associate Members, bringing the total number of ECA members to 39 pilots’ associations. For many years both associations have worked with ECA and wanted to expand our cooperation. The decision to grant the Associate Membership was made unanimously by the current ECA Members. I am delighted to officially welcome them to the European pilot family. 

During the Conference one of the big issues was the ongoing problem of the long-haul operations of Norwegian Airlines and the use of social dumping practices. In the past months we have sent numerous letters and met with authorities in different countries, trying to raise awareness about why this “business” model is unacceptable. Despite of our efforts, the European Commission strongly supports such a set-up, which ironically – in times of intensified efforts to stop tax evasion in Europe – reduces employment, moves tax and social payments out of the European Union.

By creating a virtual home base in Thailand and recruiting Thai cabin crew and European pilots through a temporary agency in Singapore, all European labour and social rights are undermined. A striking example is the avoidance of the new EU Regulation on social security for flight crew, which foresees payment and the benefits of social security in the country where the crew have their home base. By now technically moving a European Airline’s base outside of Europe but maintaining the operations unchanged, this Regulation has become a paper tiger. The EU Commission Transport Directorate states that all sorts of competition are good for Europe, even if this means thereby undermining the importance of competition rules and the European Social model. But when social rights and fair competition are scorned this creates the ground for killing the European Aviation Industry and most of the jobs it generates.

We will keep raising awareness about EU legislation loopholes, such “business” models and the disastrous consequences it might have.

Further, we had to say “Goodbye” to one of our Technical Executive Board Directors Captain Burkhart ‘Pete’ Kaumanns who took the position of IFALPA AAP Committee Chairman and therefore stepped down from his ECA position. Under Pete’s responsibility ECA made important achievements, such as the publication of the Flight Plan to Safety and the Civil Aviation Legislation & Oversight publications. We are very happy that another dedicated and knowledgeable pilot will soon take over Pete’s role. So another warm welcome to Captain Paul Reuter! Welcome to the team! 

by Nico Voorbach