Founded in 1969, SEPLA (the Spanish Air Line Pilots' Association) is the union representing over 5000 pilots from most Spanish airlines (both active and non active), including helicopter companies. This means that over 95% of Spanish commercial pilots are members of SEPLA.
Organizationally, SEPLA is divided into pilot groups or councils, including retired pilots and student pilots. There are currently 16 pilot groups represented by SEPLA. Each airline's pilots elect a Master Executive Council (MEC), which exercises considerable autonomy in governing their own internal affairs. SEPLA is also comprised of:
- A General Assembly of Members (which meets regularly once a year)
- A Board of Directors (made up of each MEC Chairman and all Executive Council Members), which meets regularly once a month.
- An Executive Council (President, Vice President, Treasurer, Vice Treasurer, Secretary and Vice Secretary) elected every three years. Appointed by this Council, there are 3 important departments:
- Membership Services Department
- Technical & Safety Department
- Institutional Affairs Department
At present SEPLA is concentrating its efforts on three main different fronts. Firstly, the union is trying to make airport security checks for Spanish aircrews more convenient.
Secondly, SEPLA is currently negotiating with the Spanish Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) the correct implementation of the EU OPS regulation on the harmonisation of technical requirements and administrative procedures in the field of civil aviation within Spain. Special attention is being paid to Subpart Q on Flight and Duty Time Limitations and Rest Requirements.
Last but not least, SEPLA continues to alert on the deficiencies of the aviation safety system in Spain, especially taking into account that the Spanish CAA does not have the necessary resources to carry out a decent safety oversight. A recent example of this situation has been the collapse and cease of operations of Air Madrid.