Page 8 - InterPilot Issue 4 2015
P. 8


Where Does Technical and Safety Thinking Stop,

and Economic or Employment Concern Begin?

BY Captain Martin Chalk, President

FALPA has a breadth and depth of technical and safety expertise which triumvirate of Regulator – AOC Holder – Licence Holder, is being
Iis unrivalled in the aviation sector. Members of our technical dramatically undermined by the reduction in employment security. It is
committees have more combined hours of operation and detailed facile to expect similar high levels of professional decision making from
knowledge in all of the disciplines of commercial aviation, and we are those in short fixed term, non-protected contracts as we do from those
honoured that this expertise is recognised in all the many areas of ICAO in permanent, employment law protected jobs.
and National Aviation Authority work. IFALPA believes that the industry One of the well intentioned aims of the new Multi-crew Pilot Licence
regulators now need to ensure innovations in the economic and sought to ensure high levels of feedback from the airline to the flight
employment areas of our industry do not impact on our impressive training organisation in order to incorporate the specific airline culture
collective achievements in making aviation the safest form of transport. and provoke a constant learning cycle to improving standards of training.
For many years, the regulation of our industry included Government The same restrictions, however, have resulted in hundreds of student
departments determining everything from aircraft procurement and pilots having given either years of their lives or tens of thousands of Euros
deployment to ticket prices and service levels, etc. Over the recent past, or both; with nothing to show for it. If the sponsoring airline fails to
the industry has succeeded in persuading Governments that the market provide the final phase of training, then no licence is earned, preventing
is the best ‘regulator’ of such commercial decision making, resulting in a the student from using their training elsewhere.
much more competitive and cost conscious product for the passenger. What is the vision for civil aviation from those who would see
Governments in North America, Europe and Australasia have virtually virtually unlimited market access or the removal of ownership and
stopped regulating these commercial aspects and many Governments in control rules, which in practice amount to the same thing? In other
South America, Asia and Africa are following suit. industries, there is the spectre of Governments and regulators finding
No one openly expresses complacency over safety, either. Every financial sweeteners to attract investment in their territories – how would
operator, regulator and licence holder will readily associate themselves this work alongside a strong regulator demanding compliance with high
with the statement that “safety is the first priority”. However, the safety standards? Many believe it will result in ‘competition’ amongst
European Union is grappling with the conundrum of one set of regulators as happened in the maritime industry, with disastrous results
regulations but 28+ different regulators. The Latin American Civil for shipping safety. Europe is already beginning to see such dilution of
Aviation Commission seeks to rationalise 22 sovereign state regulatory regulator strength, with South America not far behind.
differences whilst embracing radical liberalisation of trans-national Today, taking a 300 tonne aircraft, 500 people and 200 tonnes of fuel,
airline operations, and ICAO is working to support multilateral liberali- 12 km into the skies over the world’s largest oceans for up to 16 hours at
sation of international routes and/or ownership and control, whilst a time is commonplace. However, this success relies on number of things.
simultaneously addressing anti-competitive practices and flags of Clear, well thought out and expert minimum standards and
convenience. All should accept current efforts to reduce economic recommended practices from ICAO, amplified and enforced without fear
regulation will have profound effects on safety margins and effective or favour by a competent regulator who can ensure both AOC holder and
regulatory oversight. each individual licence holder will discharge their responsibilities
In Europe, the spectre of atypical forms of employment are not just professionally. When licence holders fear for their jobs, and regulators
raising questions as to whether it is right to employ key personnel in such fear to lose the income from the regulated entity; this safety balance is
a precarious way. There are also very real questions being asked as to fatally damaged.
whether the long successful guarantor of effective safety margins, the IFALPA’s policy, positions and input to the decision makers are all
based on a comprehensive understanding of the challenges presented by
each change in our highly dynamic industry. It is perhaps a new concept
FLAG OF CONVENIENCE is a business practice where airlines to suggest that the economic and employment changes are of relevance
are registered under a country which is not their home country; to those who work in the safety and technical arena around the world –
because the country of register offers lower tax rates and/or but more and more, they undeniably are exactly that. We must all work
leniency in crew and safety requirements. in concert to ensure that the safety ‘baby’ is not thrown out with the
economic de-regulatory ‘bathwater’.
ISSUE 4 | 2015 InterPilot | The Safety and Technical Journal of IFALPA
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