The new EASA basic regulation is an important step in the right direction

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), representing over 350,000 workers across the whole aviation industry in Europe, welcomes yesterdays’ European Parliament Plenary vote on the new European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Basic Regulation as an important step in the right direction. Some of ETF’s long-standing claims – such as the inclusion of ground handling into the scope of the Agency or the interdependence between safety and socio-economic factors – have been reflected. Subject to the approval of the Council, the ETF regrets the extension of the flexibility provisions to eight months thus giving too many possibilities for airlines to derogate from established rules, in particular as regards flight time limitations. 

For years, the ETF has been advocating for the need to address the consequences of safety rulemaking on aviation workers. With this new proposal, this will become reality – the EU Institutions as well as the Agency itself will be obliged to cooperate on addressing these risks. Oliver Richardson, ETF Civil Aviation Section President, stated: “So far, EASA has no experience on social issues. We therefore call on the Agency to involve social partners who can provide the unparalleled expertise of front-line staff. Over the last years, the ETF experts have provided priceless contribution to the EASA rulemaking process“.

As the only representative of ground staff workers at EU level, the ETF also welcomes the inclusion of ground handling into the scope of this Regulation. However, we regret that the European Parliament has opted for a ‘light’ approach of declaring compliance and relying only on existing industrial international standards. François Ballestero, ETF Political Secretary for Civil Aviation, added: “We believe that both ground handling providers and personnel should be certified in order to ensure proper compliance. We would have also welcomed more developed training standards, qualifications and quality services as a mean to reduce the staff turnover having negative effects on the aviation safety chain.”

Furthermore, the ETF welcomes the transfer of responsibilities for multinational operators that requires the consent of the concerned national aviation authority. On the other hand, we regret that once again, the proposal for a full licensing of cabin crew has been left aside. But our claim to reject black-box inside the cockpit has been heard and tomorrow only the real-time communication will be recorded in case of aircraft in distress. We also welcome the withdrawal of the minimum service that does not have safety relevance.

The ETF would like to thank its affiliates for the efforts made to pass our message at all levels in order to have a European safety system that integrates the human factors which are crucial. We remain committed to cooperate with the Agency for the benefit of European aviation workers and the industry as a whole. We ask now the Council of Transport Ministers to adopt the Regulation and we will be vigilant that the provisions that involve social partners are applied correctly.

For more information and interviews with workers and union activists contact: 

François Ballestero, European Transport Workers’ Federation
Political Secretary for Road Transport
+32 2 285 46 65

Bryn Watkins, European Transport Workers’ Federation
Communications Officer
+32 470 93 05 90