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The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter. As of April 2020 Uplink ALPA is a 6-monthly publication.

International aviation news

Lion Air crash off Indonesia 

A near-new Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX8 crashed into the sea off Indonesia on 29 October, killing all 189 crew and passengers on board, reports the NZ Herald.  

The crash occurred 13 minutes following take-off from Jakarta for the western city of Pangkal Pinang and after the pilot reported technical difficulties. He received permission to return to the airport before his aircraft disappeared from radar screens and crashed into the sea. 

The aircraft went into service just months ago and had received repairs before its final flight. 

Debris and bodies have been found, but the wreckage of the aircraft itself (including black boxes) has not been located at the time of writing. 

Lion Air is an Indonesian low-cost airline, established in 1999 and flying domestic and international routes to South East Asia, Australia and the Middle East. In June 2016 the European Union lifted its ban on Lion Air flying into European Airspace and this year the airline received a positive safety rating following an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit. 

For the full story please see HERE.  


Pay agreement reached between Air France and Unions 

A long-awaited pay agreement has been reached between Air France and various unions, ending a month-long labour conflict between the airline and its employees. 

The agreement was signed by various unions, including: French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT), Union des Navigants de l’Aviation Civile (CFE-CGC/UNAC), Syndicat National du Personnel Navigant Commercial (FO/SNPNC), Syndicat de Pilotes d’ Air France (SPAF) and UNSA Aerian Air France. 

ATW Online reported the list of signatories did not include Syndicat National des Pilotes de Ligne (SNPL), also referred to as French ALPA, Air France’s main pilots’ union. When the offer was made SNPL expressed concerns, requesting the company confirm in writing that the second part of the pay increase would not prejudice obligatory 2019 salary negotiations. 

The agreement includes a general pay increase of two percent, back paid to 1 January 2018, and a general pay increase of two percent on 1 January 2019. 

Air France unions had previously requested a 5.1 percent general pay increase to balance the stalled salary increase since 2018. The impasse led to 15 strike days, a €335 million financial hit for the group, as well as the resignation of Air France-KLM CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac in May this year. 

For the full story see HERE


Pilot continues on flight path after flying plane through brick wall 

Nothing was stopping an Air India pilot from flying to Dubai. During take-off from Tiruchirappalli International Airport in Tamil Nadu the pilot, flying a Boeing 737, skimmed the top of a 1.5m perimeter wall and also destroyed a small landing guide tower. 

Despite the collision, heard by crew and all 130 passengers, the pilot saw no reason to not continue with the flight, reported NZ Herald. The flight continued for two hours before someone in ground control second-guessed the pilot’s confidence. 

“We informed the pilot about the hit,” the airport director told IANS news service. “The pilot said nothing was wrong with the plane as the systems were functioning normally. But we found some parts of the plane, like an antenna, on the ground.”

The Minister for Civil Aviation has ordered a third-party investigation into “various safety aspects” at Air India.

For more see HERE.   


US congress makes major changes to airline industry 

In the wee hours of the morning of 25 September, US Congress passed new legislation that will shape the future of drone management and the wider aviation sector in the United States. 

The National Law Review reported the new legislation provides the reauthorisation of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and gives the direction of the FAA’s initiatives in the future. 

The new legislation also makes significant amendments to drone management within the United States.  

The FAA was directed to trial new traffic management systems and implement these capabilities to speed up the process of integrating drones into the airspace – rather than waiting for a complete system to be ready. 

Congress also directed the FAA to start testing ways to identify drone pilots or operators not flying within the regulations. The lack of such information was cited as a major hurdle to drone integration.  

Other directions include stretching the FAA’s authority to include ‘hobby’ or recreational uses of drones, meaning that recreational pilots will now be required to obtain a FAA license; and directions to create rules to govern the use of drones for deliveries. 

For more information see HERE

EU regulators urged to close loopholes

European airlines and unions are lobbying European Union (EU) regulators on atypical-employment structures, stating they distort competition. 

The Airline Coordination Platform (ACP) – which represents Air France, KLM and Lufthansa – is working with the European Cockpit Association (ECA) to protest “significant differences” in national labour laws and enforcement.

Trouble arises due to the dual platform on which laws operate. Flight legislation is controlled at an EU level, which means employment regulations are largely actionable under national law. 

Atypical-employment includes a lack of collective labour agreement, zero-hour contracts and self-employment. Unions argued atypical-employment creates disadvantages for airlines who “do abide by the rules, respect social standards and engage in genuine social dialogue with their staff.” 

Airlines and unions are calling for regulators to ensure crew home bases are “real” and not “a fake home base in a member state with lower social charges.” They are seeking clarification of the definition of home base before the end of 2018. 

For more on this story see HERE



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