Uplink ALPA - The Voice of Aviation

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

IFALPA Asia Pacific Regional meeting a big success in Bangladesh

NZALPA’s IFALPA Director Tim Robinson recently returned from the semi-annual IFALPA Asia and Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM) held in Dhaka, Bangladesh last month.

The meeting was timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Bangladesh Airline Pilots’ Association (BAPA) and our hosts were keen to put on an informative and well-run meeting in their capital city.

APRM meetings, for me as the NZALPA IFALPA Director, have always been about regional capability and ensuring that we discuss and address professional pilot matters that will improve the overall capability of the region. Attending the meeting on this occasion were pilot representatives from New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, Bangladesh, Mongolia, China, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. We were fortunate to also have IFALPA President Jack Netskar at the meeting along with members of the IFALPA Professional and Government Affairs committee – with our own Vice- Chairman Dean Fotti. 

The Asia and Pacific International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 29 aerodrome deficiencies and critical deficiencies information was reviewed and considered by the meeting attendees. It was interesting to note that a trend is developing at Japanese airports (at this time Haneda but likely to extend to Narita) where up to 4.5 per cent gradient required navigation performance (RNP) approach profiles are being trialled solely for noise abatement and property development reasons close to these major airports. It is a worrying trend if this thinking were to extend out to other member state’s airports and high angle approach gradients become the norm – purely to satisfy housing and development concerns around airports. New Zealand updated our airport information for Queenstown, Wellington and Rotorua – all of which have seen improvements towards ICAO standard signage, markings, physical layout and approach design criteria. 

The Asia and Pacific region matrix was also discussed and amended where appropriate. This document and its overall intention are vital in improving regional capability. The matrix tracks important union programmes and safety initiatives as we strive to bring the smaller and less resourced member associations up to the standard of the more developed associations. The matrix details progress in areas such as the implementation of just culture within airlines, airline safety management systems, fatigue risk management systems, drug and alcohol testing programs, company non–punitive flight operational quality assurance programmes and then union based Human Intervention Motivation Study, Peer Assistance Network programmes as well as technical, runway safety and accident investigation qualified people and committees. New Zealand, and NZALPA (of course), is well placed with most of these policies and programmes but some of our regions’ member associations (MAs) have a great deal of work to do to get their matrix up to a good level of capability. The more developed MAs can help by providing expertise, programme and policy templates, advice and people to get the less developed MAs moving towards developing their capability.

Other highlights from the meeting included: 

Singapore Airlines new collective agreement 

The latest Singapore collective agreement (CA) was finalised in July 2019. Negotiations took more than a year and required several mediation sessions with the labour ministry. Overall the pilots will receive between a 10-17 per cent wage increase with the new CA. It also includes a higher base and ceiling salary range, higher hourly flight allowances, annual leave benefits, an increase in transport allowances, maternity leave clauses (previously not in the CA). However, the pilots conceded a reduction in the agreed number of days off after long haul flights, a reduction in manpower crewing for long haul flights and it is no longer a requirement to provide crew rest seats in the cabin if a suitable seat in the bunk is provided – except for ultra long range flights. 

The merger of regional Singapore subsidiary Silkair into the mainline airline continues. Work is underway to incorporate the Silkair CA into the mainline CA.

Fiji Airways bargaining 

Fiji ALPA is at the last stages of compiling and signing its new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The new CBA will see a lot of improvements in conditions, as well as a reasonable rise in remuneration for members of between 15 to 28 per cent for the next three years. 

China airlines

The big three airlines in China all had profit decreases of the first half of the 2019 financial year. Air China’s net profit was 3 billion yuan, a decrease of 9.49 per cent. China Eastern’s net profit was 1.9 billion yuan, a decrease of 14.9 per cent and China Southern’s net profit was 1.7 billion yuan, a decrease of 20.9 per cent. These decreases were mainly due to currency fluctuations in the Chinese yuan. 


AusALPA continues to be actively involved in the development of regulations surrounding remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS). The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) released proposed requirements for public consultation earlier in the year and received more than 2850 responses. The new regulation is scheduled to be phased-in in late 2019-2020. All recreational RPAS weighing more than 250 grams will be subject Delegates including NZALPA’s Tim Robinson (second from right) sitting down to work at a meeting session. to registration and accreditation requirements, unless they are model aircraft operated at CASA-approved model airfields. 

The proposed Qantas Short Haul enterprise bargaining agreement was voted down by members on 13 September 2019 and the negotiating team is now preparing member surveys and reviewing overall strategy. The Qantas Long Haul bargaining for a replacement agreement has been underway now for more than 15 months and includes Project Sunrise. Project Sunrise is a complex project with an ambitious timeline for the substantive negotiation with pilots. Qantas has yet to reveal which aircraft type (B777 or A350) it favours for these purported growth options. 

IFALPA Regional Vice-President South Pacific David Griffin continues constructive work with all member associations in our South Pacific Region including Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. David is finding it very challenging to develop and grow the Fiji and PNG member associations as both have continued to be undermined by government, judiciary and airline employers, who are reluctant to recognise unions and who have taken punitive measures again union officials. David will continue to work with these organisations to help regrow their strength and capability. 

Finally, delegates had the pleasure of being invited to a gala dinner, hosted by BAPA, to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Many of their founding members and past presidents were at the function and it was a pleasure to see a developing member association celebrate this important milestone in their history. 

Fly safely over the festive and summer season.



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