ECA ANNUAL REPORT
image copyright: Andreas Tittelbach
Aviation Safety – a simple thing?
This year will show it once again: aviation safety in Europe is confirmed! Although the total number of flights is constantly rising and consequently the infrastructure in Europe is working at its limits, the year 2017 proves once again that aviation is the safest means of transportation.
Message from the President
Captain Dirk Polloczek
Airlines are earning money again and this puts them into a situation that allows investing in new aircraft and hiring new staff. A young generation of pilots is coming on board and they hope for better conditions for their chosen career path.
The fierce situation on the labour market for pilots in Europe seems to relax: as airlines start to hire again, many of us use the opportunity to improve their situation by changing employers. We expect this development to gain speed in the coming years. Companies that fail to recognise this trend might be in a desperate situation soon –Failing to retain their pilots and to attract new ones. Loyalty from your employees needs to be build over years – it can’t be enforced overnight!
Some, however, seem reluctant to make efforts to maintain and increase the levels of safety in our industry. We hear talk about reducing safety buffers, to increase capacity in the air and on the ground, e.g. for drones. We see less and less willingness to improve pilot training & skills, like manual flying or situational awareness. We gave early warnings about these developing issues and fortunately EASA has started working on some of those.
Speaking about drones: since the shattering results of crash-tests that were done in the UK, we do know that there is a strong need for smart solutions, when it comes to shared airspace, pilot training and operational rules. At speeds beyond 250 knots (which are quite normal for modern jets) a collision with a drone is very likely to have fatal consequences. Under any circumstances this needs to be avoided! ECA will therefore continue its efforts to bring the best of both worlds together. In October 2017 we have organised a “Pilot 2 Pilot” workshop, bringing together aircraft & drone pilots - because we see it as our responsibility to invest into safety from both sides!
Education & training is another field where our expertise is required. As a new generation of pilots comes on board, we see the consequences of many airlines having completely outsourced the responsibilities for the initial training to private companies. Consequently, a new profit-hungry industry has developed, with obvious disadvantages for training quality. Selling the dream of becoming an airline pilot is one side, but finding the right people is another! It is a career choice that needs thorough decisions. On our new website becomingapilot.eu we help young people to do exactly that. Take a look!
At the end of this year 2017, we have seen a group of pilots taking their fate in their own hands. Being forced to work with an extremely hostile management and under atypical precarious forms of employment over years, these colleagues want nothing more and nothing less but a reflection of respect and dignity in their employment. Their willingness to accept precarious conditions has come to an end. ECA and its members have been ready to assist & protect these pilots in their legitimate demands: we have set up a “Pilot Unity” Fund, to provide a safety net for those that have to fear the consequences of standing up to their management. This fund has raised more than 100.000 € within a very short period of time – a clear sign that pilots in Europe & beyond are united in the fight against atypical & precarious employment.
Finally, among the many issues covered in 2017, Data for Safety (D4S) is probably the one with the most promising and forward-reaching safety benefits. Set up by the European Aviation Safety Agency and currently in its build-up phase, you will read how ECA is playing a crucial role in this programme.Against this background, and with “Piloting Safety” being ECA’s motto, I wish you happy landings in 2018!
Opening the Gates
By authorising the EU Commission to negotiate with the US an agreement lifting the EU’s time restrictions on ‘wet-leasing’ for US carriers, the Council of Ministers started a process that risks harming Europe’s aviation business and employment. The bilateral agreement would effectively remove the EU’s current 7-month duration limit for US wet-lease operators and any notion of ‘seasonal capacity needs’ or ‘overcoming operational difficulties’. Moreover, while this mandate covers only the EU-US market, the threat of unlimited wet-leasing spreading to other countries and regions is real.
Last year ECA therefore successfully raised awareness about the risks of an agreement which foresees an open wet-lease regime. Such a regime would greatly benefit the US in terms of business opportunities and pave the way to potential distortion of competition with possible job losses and adverse effects on labour rights. This has been the trigger for ECA to persist in drawing the attention of EU policy-makers and Member States. ECA will continue to follow developments closely; making sure a balanced agreement which provides equal opportunities is achieved.
ECA Interpretation Guide
Since February 2016 Commercial Air Transport (CAT) operators of aeroplanes are required to apply the new EASA Subpart FTL. Since then, much of ECA’s attention is focused on the interpretation and implementation of these new rules by Europe’s airlines and national aviation authorities.
The last year confirms that both airline operators and national authorities continue to struggle with the interpretation and uniform application of the EU FTL rules. The complexity of the rules, combined with a sometimes rather rudimentary FTL expertise on national authority level, means that their harmonised interpretation and implementation remains a challenge. This is why ECA has established a direct and regular exchange of views with EASA on this very subject to achieve better oversight by national authorities over their operations.
ECA also actively promoted – vis-à-vis its Member Associations and their pilot members – a European Commission study on the effectiveness of EASA’s FTL rules. This study is carried out by a research consortium, led by the Dutch NLR. It focuses on night duties and disruptive schedules, and will be completed by end 2018. Two of ECA’s experts are member of the “Mirror Group” of stakeholders that advises the researchers on the study, its methodology and practical aspects of data collection.
Tackling Fatigue Never Ends
The provisions of the Schengen Borders Code allow third-country airlines’ (non-EU) aircrew members to enter the territory of the EU and make (night) stopovers whilst on international duty. The Code does not permit non-EU aircrew members to remain in the territory of the EU for work purposes following an international duty. Yet, some airlines are using these provisions to enable foreign crews to enter the EU and engage those crews in illegal working patterns.
ECA considers that there is a need to define in which case(s) a non-EU national must hold a valid work-permit to be able to work in the EU or/and aboard an aircraft registered in the EU (EU AOC). Therefore, ECA welcomed the Commission’s Fitness Check exercise and utilised the process of consultation to bring to the attention of DG HOME the European pilots’ views concerning the situation of international air transport and to suggest concrete solutions.
A benchmarking carried out by ECA and its Member Associations, in late 2016, revealed that only very few airlines have a robust FRM in place, are using it, and are following the safety recommendations of their FSAG. The vast majority of the over 20 companies assessed in that benchmark had rather immature or even rudimentary FRM in place, and many companies that did have one in place did not use it as required to allow them to actually identify and address fatigue-related safety risks.
of problematic interpretations and implementation
Online Wiki Page
If there is one singular truth about pilots it is that they are just humans: ordinary people, who learn, work, get married or divorced, take care of kids or relatives. Behind the uniform are adult humans who are just as likely as everyone else to experience poor health or suffer things like anxiety, depression and chronic disease. Whether the result of everyday life stress or more serious mental illness, pilots sometimes need help.
Following the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)’s suggestion to make PSP mandatory across Europe to ensure they are available in each and every company and in every EU Member State, ECA, ESAM, EAAP and Mayday Foundation set up the European Pilot Peer Support Initiative – EPPSI.
The purpose of EPPSI is to:
facilitate communication between stakeholders and interested parties engaged or planning to get engaged in Peer Support Programmes (PSPs);
exchange of best practices in running and setting up PSP in aviation;
promote best practices, advice and information on PSP and to thereby further optimize flight crew physical and mental fitness during a lifelong career.
More on http://eppsi.eu/
From Questions to Solutions
Who you Gonna Call? The Peers!
On 2 Feb 2017, the European Pilot Peer Support Initiative brought together airline operators, unions/associations, existing PSPs and medical experts for the first time. The initiative aims at exchanging & promoting best practices and facilitating communication between stakeholders engaged in or planning to engage in PSP.
Since right after this tragic accident, ECA provided advice and expertise to EASA, promoting adequate solutions to effectively address the issues identified by the Agency and the official French accident investigation report.
At the end of 2016, EASA published a proposal for legislative measures aimed at making a Germanwings scenario less likely to re-occur. These include:
ensuring that all pilots have access to a Pilot Peer Support Programme (including strong provisions on confidentiality and trust-building);
mandating airlines to do a psychological assessment before start of employment;
introducing Drug & Alcohol (D&A) testing upon employment, after a serious incident or accident, with due cause, as well as unannounced testing after rehabilitation and return to work;
mandatory random alcohol screening of flight crew within the EU RAMP inspection programme.
While ECA had cautioned against trying to prevent a Germanwings scenario by random testing D&A abuse (which had not played any role in the accident), ECA strongly advocated to make it mandatory for every European airline to provide a meaningful Peer Support Programme for pilots. Such PSPs are widely acknowledged to be the most effective and cost-efficient way to prevent crews’ medical fitness issues (physical & mental ones) from developping in a way that could impair flight safety.
These EASA proposals were subject to further stakeholder consultations in 2017, to which ECA experts actively contributed. ECA Member Associations also reached out to their national authorities in view of the ongoing discussions among EU Member States on the EASA proposal, which is expected to be adopted by the end of 2017 / early 2018.
EASA’s rulemaking tasks benefit from ECA’s helicopter pilot expertise in their rulemaking on evidence based training in helicopters (sub-group on helicopters in RMT.0599), degraded visual environment in HEMS operations (RMT.0325) and revised HEMS flight time limitations rules (RMT.0492).
EASA Rotorcraft Symposium
EASA Rotorcraft Sectorial Committee
High on the Agenda of ECA's work with Policymakers
EASA Rulemaking Tasks
Fuel me up Scotty!
ECA helicopter experts continue to represent the rotorcraft pilot community in the Annual EASA Rotorcraft Symposium. This year’s event will focus on the future of helicopter pilot training as well as ergonomics in helicopters.
ECA helicopter experts from search and rescue and offshore operations joined the new EASA Rotorcraft Sectorial Committee in order to provide pilot’s perspective and inputs into the EASA Safety Risk Management Process.
After the UK and US introduced a ban on large Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) in the passenger cabin of aircraft, ECA was seriously concerned about the potential negative safety implications, as well as about additional security risks that could have been introduced. ECA therefore called for an effective and comprehensive security and safety risk assessment to be carried out without delay to ensure the ban did not create safety and security threats greater than the one it sought to prevent. This ECA position paper was at the forefront of the decision to have the ban gradually removed, and the safety risks being fully acknowledged.
Fire in the Hold
Under the pressure of fierce competition on the market, airline fuel policies have become more and more stringent. While most airlines promote responsible fuel planning, for others, fuel saving has become a primary goal. The last couple of years, a series of serious incidents due to low fuel levels happened in Europe.
Against this background, ECA fuel experts are attending a Review Group at EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency, which is trying to come up with a comprehensive and up to date set of safety requirements for operators’ fuel policies. A new ECA Position Paper outlines the dos & don’ts for operators fuel management policies. Among the key recommendations are that any form of fuel performance ranking and related data must be de-identified. It must also be governed by Just Culture principles and the Commander must always be allowed to have the final say on how much fuel to carry.
New Business Models,
New Safety Risks
The principle of the final responsibility of the remote pilot in command should be stated explicitly.
Training and licensing for UAS pilots.
Right of way rules for manned aviation and UAS.
Alts/heights display compatibility for manned aviation and UAS.
More precise definitions of Automated/Autonomous operations.
The boundary between the Specific and Certified category is not clear enough.
Standardized process for approval and auditing of light UA operator certificate (LUC).
Air risk assessment.
Important definitions missing: "operator", "observer", "user" and "pilot".
The use of AMCs and GMs in the Proposal to be reconsidered.
Just Culture at Risk?
Multiple ECA Member Associations (MAs) have reported that airlines and/or National Authorities lacked compliance on one or more requirements stipulated in the EU Occurrence Reporting Regulation. Because Just Culture is a necessary and effective tool in developing a true safety culture, ECA is concerned about the correct implementation of this concept. ECA has therefore launched a survey to map compliancy and measure the perception of a Member State’s Just Culture ‘maturity’ both at airline and NAA level. The results will help identify best practices and areas for improvement.
This summer, the ECA RPAS WG submitted comments to the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) proposal to regulate the operation of small drones in Europe. Here are ECA’s top 10 key amendments:
Lower Safety Culture?
The London School of Economics (LSE) Study on Safety Culture perceptions – revealing that pilot fatigue is a clear and present concern for European pilots – was one of the most memorable readings in 2017. But there’s much more to that study: facts and trends about pilots feeling insufficiently trained, lacking trust in national civil aviation authorities, doubting management’s commitment to safety, and atypically employed pilots showing lower safety culture perceptions than their directly employed colleagues.
ECA welcomed the new Practical Guide issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in September.It has the potential tohelp European aviation to better manage safety hazards and their associated risks that stem from new business and employment models. The practical guide constitutes a recognition that outsourcing safety critical tasks, subcontracting/wet-leasing, or crew atypical employment create safety hazards that can negatively impact safety.“This new Guide is only a first step and more will be needed from the EU’s institutions”, says Johan Glantz, ECA Board Director and Chair of the EASA Working Group that delivered the recommendations.
For some time now, ECA has been involved in the EASA Rulemaking Task on Evidence-based and Competency-based training (EBT and CBT), and also took part in a dedicated technical workshop organised by the Agency in February. ECA and its experts supported the Agency’s project of implementation of EBT as an initiative to improve aviation safety and the quality of pilot training.
In the summer, ECA therefore became seriously concerned about the Agency’s intention to cancel the necessary work to complete the regulatory framework for EBT. In a letter, ECA therefore asked EASA to reconsider this decision and to ensure that the required phases of work are completed. This was essential in ECA’s experts view to have EBT develop its full safety potential across the industry. ECA is pleased that Patrick KY, EASA’s Executive Director, confirms the work will be continued, with an adapted time-frame, as requested by ECA and other stakeholders.
MAKING DRONE LEGISLATION SAFE
Where is it heading?
In parallel, the EU Commission launched a High Level Expert Group with the participation of ECA experts. The goal is to advise and assist the Commission with the establishment of the unmanned aircraft regulatory framework, the efficacy and funding of drone integration projects and the development of the U-Space.
Under the common theme “One sky fits all”, ECA organised the first workshop for manned & unmanned aviation pilots in October. More than 20 aviators reflected on their common passion for flying, similar operational threats, challenges and comparable trends in their profession. Building a safety culture was identified as a common challenge for all, with drone pilots underlining the fact that national authorities have not yet assigned the necessary resources to develop and offer valuable, relevant, and portable training qualifications for professional drone pilots.
Prosecutor Expert Course Reloaded
ECA has been advocating since 2013 for comprehensive safeguards to be included in any future Multilateral Air Service Agreement (MASA) capable of establishing a fully liberalised global aviation market. ECA is requiring, in particular, an exhaustive and effective tangible social clause to limit or mitigate some of the distortive effects of the MASA on labour e.g. ‘forum shopping’ and ‘flagging out’ practices. It is important to stress that international aviation is different from any other industry when it comes to labour rights and protections. Mobile crew members by providing services in a mobile environment, cannot count, in terms of protections, on a well defined (ideally single) legal framework across countries and the world. As labour will be one - if not the most - vulnerable stakeholder under any future MASA that does not contain adequate safeguards, ECA has continued its efforts both at European and international level.
European pilots welcomed the landmark judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the case of air crew against Ryanair and its temporary staff agency Crewlink. The Court’s September decision clearly refutes Ryanair’s rhetoric “Irish aircraft = Irish employee”.
Instead, it states that the ‘home base’ of crews is the most ‘significant indicator’ to determine the employee’s habitual place of work and which laws and jurisdiction apply to them. It is a great satisfaction to see that the arguments made in ECA’s submissions to the Court of and Member States have been followed in the final ruling. It will have consequences well beyond Ryanair.
The Court sets a presumption that the Home Base is the habitual place of work for air crews, and thereby the crucial determinant for which national Court has jurisdiction.
At the same time it allows to challenge the presumption if the base is a bogus one.
No ‘jurisdiction clause’ in a contract can limit the employee’s rights on applicable law granted by the EU rules.
Preventing Runway Incursions 3.0
For many years already, ECA is actively involved in the European social dialogue i.e. discussions, consultations, negotiations and joint actions involving organisations representing the two sides of industry (employers and workers). Social dialogue is a unique opportunity to develop legislation or joint activities in the area of working conditions made by industry for the industry. In June, ECA Professional Affairs Director Otjan de Bruijn was elected Vice-Chairman of the group for the next 2 years, with the aim of launching new joint initiatives.
After 5 years, it’s time for a version 2.0. Continuing to bridge the gap with the judiciary, ECA in cooperation with IFATCA and Eurocontrol, is developing a follow-up to the existing Prosecutor Expert Course. The new course, which took place for the first time in November 2017, will provide advanced training for a small group of independent pilot and controller experts. The purpose of this group is to be available on demand of the judicial authorities in order to contribute to a mature relationship between the judiciary and aviation safety experts, and to stimulate further exchange of know-how.
When the UK CAA approved British Airways’ (BA) lease of 9 aircraft and crew from Qatar Airways while a labour dispute was underway, ECA voiced its concerns. Clearly, the lease was used by British Airways to undermine the lawful collective action of a group of BA flight attendants who were trying to improve their wages and working conditions. It also effectively means circumventing EU rules on the posting of workers. If no working permits have been requested, the crews would be working in the EU without any government authority approving the employment relationship. ECA has therefore become active and is considering further actions to challenge the practice.
Stemming the Global Floods
What is Data4Safety?
D4S is a voluntary, cooperative partnership within the aviation community, for the sharing and analysis of data. The ultimate and sole purpose is improving safety. The programme will organise the impressive and growing number of available data stores scattered in the different organisations of the European aviation system. This will provide a critical mass of data and enable data fusion to analyse safety risks in their global context at the European scale. The programme will also organise the analysis capabilities by offering a common European platform to evaluate and mitigate systemic safety risks in a predictive manner.
The considerable amount of data available today offers a unique opportunity to shift from a largely reactive to a pro-active safety system in aviation. ‘Big data’ allows us to track systemic safety risks and trends on a continuous basis. But the bigger the data, the bigger the risk of misuse. Strong protective measures, guaranteeing those large volumes of data will be protected are crucial. This is why ECA became a Founding Member of the European programme - Data4Safety (D4S).
The success of this major undertaking very much depends on the cooperative spirit of the aviation community as a whole. From the very first day ECA has been fully committed by bringing a wealth of experience and expertise, unanimously recognised and praised. The pilots’ community intends to continue playing its part and will contribute actively to the development of a robust data sharing and protection scheme with the aim of enhancing Europe’s aviation safety.
As a founding member, ECA has seats in the Technical and Steering Board of D4S. This is a privileged position to shape collaboratively the programme’s development, its governance and Rules of Procedures. With the infrastructure now almost complete and ready for data flow, the first analyses are expected for the end of 2018.
Strike-Breaking through Wet-Leasing
BIG ON DATA
Since the launch of the European Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Incursions (EAPPRI) in 2011, a body of new information has become available. The time has therefore come to update this important document. In this context, ECA’s top priority was to maintain the plan’s provisions on systematic representation of pilots in the Local Runway Safety Teams.
Breaking Legal Ground on the Home Base Principle
ECA continues to support the existing TNA groups, and results are encouraging: mutual support between airline Company Councils in different countries is increasingly effective and there are even first signs of management recognition of the TNA groups as a whole.
This year saw the launch of the first phase of ECA’s TNA 2020 plan with the implementation of coordination and communication platforms. With the number of these pilot groups on the increase, the need for a toolkit to assist MAs and Company Councils to create and effectively support them became apparent. The Toolkit which is in its initial development includes communication and IT instruments, template protocol and answers to FAQs. In parallel, with the help of the EU Commission, ECA is working on an organisation handbook for TNA pilots. In 2018 there will be several events relating to the developments above - so stay tuned!
long & irregular hours
Trans National Airline (TNA) Pilot Groups Enter the Next Stage
The recent cancellation crisis pushed a new generation of pilots to stand up for their rights. They no longer agree with having their contracts changed unilaterally (when they have a contract at all…). They want to negotiate as a group, on equal terms with their management. They want to elect their pilot leaders. They want their representatives to speak on their behalf, without fear of punishment or worse - losing their job. The momentum that was created brought the opportunity for historical change. But the precondition to achieve it is that we continue to stand strong and united behind the colleagues who put themselves in the forefront.With this in mind, ECA set up a benevolent fund to provide a safety net for pilot leaders. It is available to those who find themselves out of a job in direct consequence of stepping forward as a representative to voice concerns and to assert the pilot profession’s right to Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining. To date, over 100.000 € have been raised for #PilotUnity, thereby assuring them that they have nothing to fear, and at the same time spreading the message that the pilot community is one, united and determined to go in one direction.
your dream too?
Becoming a Pilot:
Good or Bad Career Choice?
Glamorous, challenging, rewarding, inspiring… The job of a commercial airline pilot is often described with an unending string of superlatives. While the pilot profession still continues to be one of the most attractive and challenging jobs, it has certainly lost some of its glory, the job market has changed, and pilot training has become a substantial financial investment. ECA’s new website – www.becomingapilot.eu – will help young aspiring pilots and their parents make an informed decision about this career option.
The European Cockpit Association was created in 1991 and is the representative body of European pilots at EU level. It represents over 38.000 European pilots from the National pilot Associations in 37 European states.
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