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COVID-19 and aviation: Time to rethink!

Covid-19 demonstrated that aviation is a critical strategic infrastructure and service, providing essential connectivity, promoting socio-economic cohesion and timely supply of goods, thus serving our societies.

The professionals working in aviation – who provide a safe & dedicated service – are a crucial part of the aviation ecosystem: both before, during and after the crisis, and any potential recurrence thereof, and during the recovery – which is expected to be of unpredictable length.

This strategic infrastructure, service and its people deserve priority attention. To do so, policy-makers and aviation stakeholders must use the crisis to rethink the ‘old’ system and to ‘repair’ its structural weaknesses and distortions that the crisis revealed – which, if unaddressed, will hinder the recovery, weaken the aviation sector, and harm the public interest.

The statement is available here.

This ETF statement is identical to and supportive of the statement by other aviation professionals’ organisations available here.

COVID-19 : A plan for European aviation

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, ETF Civil Aviation Section has been representing the civil aviation workers of Europe, providing feedback to measures introduced by the various authorities and putting forward concrete plans. The responses so far are combined in the new plan for European aviation that introduces short- and the long- term measures, covers all the different areas of civil aviation, and embraces social and environmental sustainability.

Please download the plan here

Take action to prevent collision

Air traffic Management (ATM) as part of the wider aviation industry is facing the most significant crisis in its history. ATM staff continues to provide an essential service to ensure flights can continue to operate, with cargo and medical flights playing a particularly important role at the moment. Despite the vital importance of the industry, there are several crucial on-going issues. These are relevant to the continuing provision of ATM services now and, even more importantly, in the future, after we emerge from the current situation.

COVID-19: ETF calls for an aviation rescue plan and EU fund to help protect a strategic industry

European aviation has been amongst the first industries to be impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and will be one of the hardest hit. Support to the workforce and the industry will ensure a lifeline for the sector that will guarantee its recovery after the pandemic. ETF calls for conditional financial aid to aviation-sector companies and immediate support to all workers in civil aviation, with special attention given to the most vulnerable among them.

Workers that make European aviation move are a heterogeneous group – from aircrew, over air traffic management to ground handling, catering and cleaning staff. In large parts of aviation, precarious work prevails over traditional work contracts, and zero-hour contracts or temporary agency work are booming. Precarious workers’ salaries are significantly below national averages and in some cases even below the poverty line. These groups of workers were immediately affected by the COVID-19 crisis as they had no reserve to fall back on.

ETF calls on the European Institutions and the Member States to put in place a rescue plan consisting of direct support for workers as well as conditional financial aid to aviation-sector companies. 

Financial assistance can only be granted if the respective company respects job retention and income protection measures. All aviation companies must be aware of their social responsibility and make sure that their most valuable asset – the workforce – is adequately protected.

Any financial aid to aviation-sector companies should also be conditional on a ban on pay-out of dividends to shareholders in 2020 (as a minimum) and a ban on stock buybacks by companies.

EU must ensure that the European idea of integration and democracy materialises for the working people and specifically for the most vulnerable.

Please download the statement here :

EUROPEAN AVIATION AT CROSSROADS: EUROPE AND MEMBER STATES MUST ACT NOW!

Being the sole representative of all categories of European aviation workers across the whole industry, the ETF Civil Aviation Section reiterates its urgent call to the decision-makers at EU and national level to safeguard the future of European aviation. Our industry is at a crossroads: either the current COVID-19 crisis completely decimates it or we turn the current events into an opportunity to rebuild the sector and learn lessons from the past.
As we already said in our previous statements, urgent measures are needed in the short, medium and long term.

Please download our statement here:

You can also download a joint statement we have published with the other social partners here:

We are all one in the sky

The Signatories support the European regulatory authorities in producing a robust, harmonised, EU-wide regulatory safety framework that enables the safe, secure, efficient and fair integration of drones in the aviation system, and fosters broad public acceptance. Since the Drones Helsinki Declaration in 2017, which called for simple and performance-based rules for drones, significant progress has been made in developing and delivering a regulatory framework that will support the safe and sustainable growth of the drone industry. However, in order to facilitate the integration of drones in very low-level airspace (i.e. below 500 ft) and preserve the high level of safety in the entire European airspace, we jointly call to accelerate the implementation of the following measures.

1. Extensive public awareness campaign The general public, including recreational/occasional drone users, as well as commercial clients, must be aware of the safety risks, duties, liabilities, insurance requirements, responsibilities and third-party privacy issues associated with drone operations. These are essential requirements as lack of awareness and negligence could result in safety incidents and accidents. Therefore, more resources must be dedicated to this aspect of drone integration in the airspace.

2. Mandatory training and certificate/license relevant to operations The obligation for drone pilots to obtain a certificate or license aligned with EU regulation – depending on the properties, performance and features of the drone – creates awareness and mandates knowledge of the applicable regulations and restrictions as well as helping to develop the necessary skills. Practical training and theoretical knowledge requirements for unmanned aircraft pilots constitute an important safety net to prevent drone incidents or accidents. A solid knowledge and skills base is therefore a must, considering the complexity of the national and European airspaces and related aviation regulations. We are all one in the sky There is only one sky and all stakeholders, new and traditional, need to collaborate to keep it safe, secure, efficient and fair. The Signatories

Fair Transport Europe – Our Rights, Your Safety

Do you think that right to strike is a fundamental right for all workers?
The EU Commission is trying to blame air traffic management staff for flight delays and encourage countries to limit their right to strike. That’s not #FairTransport!

Strikes in air traffic management are not a major cause of delays, and workers strike to defend safety for all passengers. Anyway, this is an area where the EU has no power, so why are they interfering?

Today air traffic management staff are under attack, but tomorrow could be your turn. The right to strike must be protected. If you agree with us, sign this petition from ETF and ATCEUC here:

ATM Unions determined to defend the right to strike


Almost 70 trade union representatives from all around Europe affiliated to the Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) and the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) gathered today in Brussels to discuss further steps in their campaign ‘Our Rights – Your Safety’, defending the right to strike of European air traffic management (ATM) staff.
                                     
The European Commission published in 2017the Communication ‘Aviation: Open and Connected Europe (COM 2017) 286 final’, recommending that Member States introduce policy that limit the right to strike of ATM staff. The Communication significantly encroaches on the national sovereignty of Member States, contradicts the EU Treaties and violates the fundamental rights of workers in European air traffic management.
 

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Airlines cause 1 million minutes of delay while blaming others

The undersigned ATM Professional Staff Organisations note with great regret yet another attack of Airlines for Europe (A4E) on the European Air Traffic Management in the form of a joint letter of A4E member airlines’ CEOs to the European Air Navigation Service providers (ANSPs). The letter enumerates a number of ATM-related issues as cause for the delays.
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Reality check: what’s behind flight delays ?

Efficiency​, capacity and growth in European aviation from Prospect Union

What is the true economic impact of air traffic control (ATC) strikes in Europe? Following the allegations expressed by airlines about the consequences resulting of ATC strikes the European Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) and the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) have unveiled today at a press conference in Brussels the real data behind the causes and consequences of flight delays. Our research based on official EUROCONTROL data has namely exposed that airlines themselves are by far the largest cause of delays and account for more than 50 percent of all delays in air traffic.

The right to workers' representation and collective action are enshrined in the founding Treaties of the European Union, while these Treaties stipulate that the EU has no competence on the right of strike which remains fully in the remit of individual Member States. In addition, international evidence shows that free and independent trade unions make a net positive contribution to productivity, competitiveness as well as safety. While we don't deny that industrial action has consequences on the traffic, we reiterate that it belongs to the fundamental rights of workers.

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