Covid 19 and the Zero Hour Contract Aircrew

The Dark Side of Aircrew Employment in Europe

There is no doubt that the aviation industry is facing a crisis of gigantic proportions. Ryanair is going to lay off 3000 staff and British Airways has said that 12000 jobs are at risk. Many have kept their jobs on furlough schemes, but there is a large group of aircrew who have no rights.  Airlines have used controversial agency contracts in which employees have none of the rights afforded to those by direct employment.

cockpitemergingeurope - Travel Radar - Aviation News
Agency Employment
nas737forbes - Travel Radar - Aviation News

Norwegian Air’s crewing agencies recently left 4700 aircrew unemployed overnight across Europe. Norwegian partly owns these agencies, however, the airline itself carries no responsibility for these employees. They can be fired with no pay and no legal rights despite years of loyal service to their companies. Another agency – CAE Crewing Services, who supply pilots to many companies, informed crews recently they were starting the redundancy process. The European Cockpit Associations (‘ECA’) President Jon Horne said Atypical employment in aviation is merely a smokescreen for regular employment […] bogus self-employment schemes create a pool of disposable workers with diminished rights and no access to labour laws’.

Widespread problem

The ECA estimates 1 in 5 pilots is on a precarious contract and a shocking 40% of 20 to 30-year-old pilots have no direct relationship with the company they work for. Young pilots have little choice in their first employers and have massive flight school debts to service. ECA Secretary General Phillip von Schoppenthau said ‘We see airlines with sufficient liquidity laying off atypically employed aircrew workers, just because it is easy to do so – pushing the individuals and their families into very precarious situations’.

physorg - Travel Radar - Aviation News

As with all zero-hour contracts elsewhere in the economy, it is clear that these controversial forms of employment hugely favour the employer, leaving the ‘worker’ with very few rights. Airlines across Europe are currently benefiting from massive amounts of state aid in various forms, but perhaps it is time these companies took responsibility for their entire workforce too.

Subscribe to our Weekly Digest!

More News

British Airways launch new way to save Avios points on World Duty Free purchases 2023

British Airways has recently released ways for Executive Club...

Beyond 2050: Is Sustainable Air Travel Possible In The Long-Term?

Is sustainable air travel possible in the long-term future?...

Exciting New Integrated Air/Rail Ticket Scheme Announced By United Airlines, Lufthansa Group And Deutsche Bahn

United Airlines, Lufthansa Group and Deutsche Bahn (DB) have announced a new...

United Airlines’ Financial Performance Results In Profit In Third Quarter

United Airlines’ financial performance remains in the profit zone...

Gift Guide For Travel Lovers

With Christmas on the horizon and everyone feeling the...
Travel Radar
Travel Radar
Articles from guest contributors wishing to remain anonymous are credited to this account. Want to contribute to Travel Radar either in-name, or anonymously? Get in touch: [email protected]


Please enter your comment!