British Airways (BA) has ambitious growth plans, taking advantage of the opportunities created by a new Open Skies Agreements between the EU and the US. This is a very laudable aim!
However, the way the company intends to do so - by setting up a wholly-owned BA subsidiary "OpenSkies" with a separate workforce - creates a serious risk for BA pilots and their terms and conditions. It also risks setting a dangerous precedent for pilots all over Europe, where airlines would be encouraged to follow the BA example. This is why ECA and its Member Associations from 34 European countries strongly support BA pilots and our British member association BALPA.
The concerns of ECA and its Member Associations are straight forward:
- "Open Skies" as an obvious attempt by BA to set up a new and separate pilot workforce to drive its growth plans.
- It is an attempt to marginalise the current BA pilots and to undermine their terms and conditions by outsourcing the flying that BA pilots should undertake.
What BA proposes to do - keeping the pilots in the new airline separate from the main group - is a well worn path, as we have seen in many other EU countries and beyond:
- The new airline grows quickly and does so from a lower cost base.
- New aircraft orders and routes gradually migrate to the new airline and the parent company sees no growth.
- Eventually the terms and conditions of the new airline force down those in the parent company.
ECA and its Member Associations, representing over 38,100 professional pilots, are determined not to let this happen. We fully support our colleagues and will provide the help needed to make them succeed!