NZALPA’s IFALPA Director Dean Fotti has provisionally accepted the role of IFALPA Professional and Government Affairs (PGA) Vice-Chairman pending both IFALPA Executive Board and NZALPA Board of Management approval.
The IFALPA PGA committee asked Fotti to accept its nomination to fill the vacated committee Vice-Chairman position at the IFALPA PGA meeting hosted by NZALPA in Auckland on June 13-14.
“This is a big honour and real recognition of NZALPA’s overall contribution to IFALPA’s objectives,” Fotti said.
The PGA committee, comprised of over 30 members representing member associations (MAs) in Europe, Africa, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific regions, meets biannually. The Auckland meeting was the first for the new PGA Chairman Hilario Castillo (Mexico).
NZALPA General Manager Dawn Handforth and General Aviation Advocate Tom Buckley attended as observers.
The meeting’s agenda focused on updating information and reviewing the ongoing strategy for IFALPA’s engagements to influence the development of global multilateral air services agreements (MASAs), and the growth of trans-national airlines (TNIs). This includes the effects they have on the rights and working conditions of pilots.
The special MASAs Working Group – a sub-committee of the PGA – met on June 12 at NZALPA House and gathered ideas for report back.
“Although multilateral air services agreements are predominantly now a Eurocentric issue, they are also emerging in Central and South America,” Fotti reported.
The New Zealand government’s perspective on MASAs was presented by the Principle Advisor to the Minister of Transport and lead negotiator for all New Zealand air services agreements, Sonya van de Geer. As well as outlining the Government’s air transportation policy, van de Geer gave the official overview on the perceived benefits of liberalisation of the air transportation industry to New Zealand.
“The committee also had a candid discussion regarding IFALPA’s concerns with respect to unregulated liberalisation of air transportation through Open Skies agreements and the relaxation of ownership regulations,” Fotti said.
The discussion comes before van de Geer, as the New Zealand representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Air Transportation Regulatory Panel (ATRP), will meet with the other representatives in Montreal next month.
“The ATRP is an international forum attempting to reach an overarching global air services agreement,” Fotti said.
“New Zealand has observer status to this forum and is recognised as one of the strongest supporters of deregulation of air services worldwide.”
In regard to the European experience, Jim Phillips from the German Cockpit Association (VC) responded with IFALPA’s position on MASAs and the Association’s concerns regarding the effects of deregulation on employment rights and transportation safety.
“Jim highlighted the fact that increasing competition from low-cost carriers, being enticed into the market by deregulation, is encouraging employers to utilise atypical employment models, including ‘pay-to-fly’ schemes,” Fotti said.
“These models are having an impact on pilot working conditions. The lack of any ability to raise concerns over flight duty times or fatigue have obvious effects on flight safety."
To conclude, the committee was briefed on work streams within various member associations (MAs) regarding engagement with the growing remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) community.
“The Australian Federation of Airline Pilots (AFAP) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the association representing RPAS operators in Australia,” Fotti said.
“They will work together to ensure the concerns of both groups of pilots are shared and addressed.
"Some IFALPA MAs, such as AFAP, are considering membership for RPAS operators."
The next IFALPA PGA meeting is scheduled for November 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey.