AEROPERS - SwissALPA

AEROPERS - SwissALPA of today is the umbrella organisation of the airline pilots associations in Switzerland. 730 Pilots are represented flying for the main line of Swiss Intl. Air Lines, the charter airlines EDELWEISS and BELAIR and REGA, the Swiss Air Ambulance (incl. Helicopter). The newly elected president Christian Frauenfelder leads the association at the office at Kloten/Zurich-Airport supported by nine board members, a pool of 15 so-called specialists and two professional staff.

Founded in 1945 by the pilots of SWISSAIR, for several decades AEROPERS has been the only pilots association in Switzerland. During the late 1990s the umbrella organisation SwissALPA was founded, including AEROPERS, CCP (CROSSAIR Cockpit Personnel) and ASPPA (Association Suisse des Pilotes Professionels des Avions). In late 2001 CCP left SwissALPA and ASPPA ended its activities shortly afterwards. Therefore the remaining small associations were integrated into AEROPERS which acted as the umbrella from there on. The maximum membership in 2001 was about 2300 and decreased after the end of SWISSAIR and the continuous downsizing of Swiss Intl. Air Lines to the above mentioned 730. Therefore a very important issue of today is how to deal with limited resources and how to keep up the traditional high knowledge and power.

To be active in both the field of flight safety and the field of negotiations for the best possible working conditions for our members has always be the aim of AEROPERS - SwissALPA. Unfortunately, today the balance between these fields is not granted anymore due to economic pressure and short term management. As much as our contributions to flight safety and security are appreciated by our companies as much all contracts for stability are fought against, ignoring the relationship between both aspects.

The recently renewed CLA for the main line pilots at Swiss Intl. is the only CLA in the country! All the other pilots are working with individual contracts. It is one of our goals to get more pilots working under a CLA in the future. Another goal is to get more pilots organised within AEROPERS - SwissALPA, especially those flying for the regional carrier Swiss European Air Lines, for EasyJet Switzerland and for many small business jets operators. Last but not least a close monitoring of the implementation of new EU regulations in our non-EU country, especially concerning FTL and a new reporting system, is essential.

AEROPERS - SwissALPA has always believed in the benefits of international cooperation and the importance of raising an unified pilots voice across borders, not least by actively promoting pilot cooperation within alliances. Most recently, and to strengthen the common pilots forces during the integration process of Swiss Intl. into Lufthansa we developed a cooperation agreement with VC from Germany. At the same time ECA's role will become more and more important. The recent developments are very positive. The professional style of working, the status as regional body of IFALPA, the support for trans-national questions, the involvement in both many technical and industrial issues on EU-level and the increased membership are very much appreciated and they all help to show the unchanged importance of our profession in today's fast changing environment.

SF/O Alex Schönenberger