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Mon, Nov 13, 2023

Euro Cockpit Association Renews Campaign against “Bogus Self-Employment”

Belgian Documentary Shows “Atypical Employment” in Continental Industry

The European Cockpit Association published an urgent sounding press release regarding the recent Dutch documentary “Omerta Above the Clouds”, saying it paints a “disturbing picture of the EASA.”

Their chief concern remains, as it has been for years, the “atypical employment” phenomenon of many Euro pilots. The ECA says that more than 1 in 5 aviators are not directly employed by the airline they fly for, a condition which has “spread rapidly and widely within all segments of the industry from low cost to legacy carriers.” 

ECA president Captain Otjan de Bruijn said that EASA has dropped the ball in evaluating the effects of job insecurity on flight safety, citing “Scientific studies from reputable institutions like the London School of Economics, Ghent University (Belgium), and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden” that he says consistently show an undesirable and dangerous link between the issues. “EASA's refusal to acknowledge these findings raises serious questions about its commitment to safety,” he said.

The ECA’s dramatic flare continues: “The studies reveal a chilling reality: non-traditional employment practices compromise safety decision-making in European cockpits. Pilots employed in atypical ways are less likely to voice safety concerns, more prone to taking risks, flying while sick and fatigued and lack confidence in safety reporting processes. The Agency's dismissive attitude has let a culture of fear and intimidation flourish in the industry, making it harder to report safety concerns and putting commercial interests above safety.”

One particular bugbear for the ECA lies in the problem of “bogus self-employment in aviation,”an issue they say the EASA could address with a revision to Regulation 1008/2008. The Agency’s refusal to do so “ underscores the Commission's apathy towards aircrew concerns in general,” according to the ECA.

The documentary came from Dutch broadcast org BNNVRA, aiming to provide a “comprehensive view of the industry’s current state” with a bevy of interviews with stakeholders, operators, pilots, and the like. A decade ago, the same team produced a documentary regarding Ryanair pilots, which raised issues at the time. The ECA capitalized on the release, saying the doc “sheds light on “alarming practices within the aviation industry, raising significant doubts about the safety of European air travel.” 



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