skyteam pilots strengthen their partnership

On Wednesday, April 8, 2015 the SkyTeam Pilots Association (SPA) concluded its semi-annual meeting in Madrid. The pilots of the SPA continue cooperation, mutual support and information sharing at their member airlines in areas concerning safety, security, industrial matters, and other related issues of concern in today’s dynamic global environment.

The SPA is committed to advocating for healthy and cooperative relationships between pilot groups and their managements. The SPA Executive Board expressed their regret over the complete lack of communication between management of Air Europa and its pilots, represented by their union SEPLA.

SPA is cautiously monitoring the current trend in labor relations at Alitalia and with the CEO of Air France-KLM Holding. Recent events highlight a lack of appreciation for their previously constructive, engaged relationship.

SPA welcomed as new members the pilots of Garuda Indonesia (Asosiasi Pilot Garuda). They have an agreement (PKP) which encompasses most issues of employment conditions. The only remaining section is salary. They are optimistic their new CEO Mr. Arif Wibowo will promptly engage with them on this important section of the agreement, so they may move forward cooperatively to continue development of their airline. The professional pilots of Garuda Indonesia should be afforded the peace of mind that comes from having a fair agreement in place.

The SPA was pleased to host as guests, pilots from Virgin Atlantic Airways. The pilots of Virgin are represented by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA). As a union with strong international relationships, the BALPA pilots on Virgin Atlantic’s Company Council (VACC) benefit from sharing meaningful dialogue with other pilot groups. SPA pilots opened all their discussions to their colleagues from Virgin. All matters of an industrial nature as well as safety, security and operations are shared openly and honestly amongst fellow professionals.

The SPA received a positive report from the Middle East Airlines pilots represented by the Lebanese Pilots Association (LPA). Their relationship with management has improved significantly since their last report. A new contract has been signed that addresses pay, progression as well as pension and medical insurance.

The Korean Air pilots (Korean Pilot Union, KPU) gave a troubling report of their management ignoring limits on pilot flight time and duty limits. Among other things, pilots are contractually limited to no more than five flight segments per day, but are routinely being scheduled for as many as seven segments. Pushing pilots into fatigue-inducing situations is a dangerous practice that has a long track record of unfortunate results.

Sorely missed were the pilots of Kenya Airways. Union representatives from Kenya remained in Nairobi this week addressing the unfair termination of ten of their most senior pilots. SPA calls upon the management of Kenya Airways to negotiate a fair resolution of this matter with the union.

Pilots from Aeromexico and Delta were happy to share with the rest of SPA the terms of a recently signed Pilot Protocol Agreement between the two unions. The pilots of Delta and Aeromexico support their airlines’ application for antitrust immunity under the recently signed Open Skies Agreement between the US and Mexico. SPA supports Open Skies agreements between countries that have a fair and level playing field. Subsidies and violations of provisions of Open Skies are unfair and make it impossible to have healthy competition.

The pilot representatives of the SPA continue to work on behalf of the pilot groups we represent. In today’s global economic environment, cooperation between the member organizations of the SPA is paramount to protecting the interests of all SkyTeam pilots.