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.

Negotiations Update

Current and ongoing negotiations involving NZALPA are detailed below.  For any queries related to negotiations, please email office@nzalpa.org.nz

Virgin Australia New Zealand (VANZ)

Virgin is arguing that productivity and profitability could be enhanced if some New Zealand flying (all flights beginning, ending or passing through New Zealand, including those that begin in New Zealand and travel via Australia to other destinations) was done by Australians, who are on better terms and conditions, and higher rates of pay, superannuation and allowances. Virgin argued that New Zealand pilots’ job security could be provided in a different way.

Bargaining to date has considered Virgin’s prime interest and under what circumstances, and for what purpose, might NZALPA and its pilots ease, or abandon, the current wording – providing that VANZ pilots have absolute rights do all New Zealand flying. 

The Virgin Australia pilots (who are also in negotiations) advised that they would not allow VANZ pilots to operate domestically in Australia. This appears to have created difficulty in addressing the company interest in greater flexibility and the pilots’ interest in job protection.

Focus has now turned to consideration of how the VANZ pilots’ interests could be met. The pilots’ interests involve addressing issues such as poor work/life balance, high captured time (paxing, hotel time, unprofitable high duty/low flight time rosters), and lack of quality time off at home with family and friends. Costings of some options and addressing these concerns are being calculated by Virgin. Bargaining continues this month.

Jetstar Regional Operations

Current bargaining seeks to establish the first collective agreement for these pilots.

Although the range of discussion is very wide, considerable progress has been made with the basic content and structure of the document and the focus now moving to the more cost-sensitive issues of work rules, salaries, allowances and days off. Consideration of several options is taking place, with the company seeking costings and other information before we meet again this month.

Bargaining days are limited for this group. This is largely a result of low crew numbers and high workload, meaning that freeing up the bargaining team is difficult at times. 


The NZALPA and Jetconnect pilot negotiation teams continued to meet throughout March and early April. Agreement in Principle has been reached on a part-time proposal, clarification and improvement to bonding clauses, and changes that include improving conditions for training pilots.  

Both parties have been focusing on days off; the definition of a “day” and greater certainty around the way those days off are rostered; and identifying and considering a range of acceptable changes to work rules and other conditions (which allow improvements in the pilots’ interests while seeking to meet Jetconnect’s interest). The parties have made considerable progress on this.

Allocation and operational use of Late Reserve duties continue to be a challenging issue.

Further meetings are scheduled throughout June, July and August this year. NZALPA is hopeful that an agreement can be finalised for ratification before all these future meetings are required.

Air Nelson and Mount Cook Air Lines

With Air Nelson and Mount Cook’s collective agreements about to expire (2 July and 30 June respectively), NZALPA has begun bargaining for both pilot groups.

The work of the joint Air Nelson and Mount Cook bargaining team working on Security of Employment (SoE) and a Regional Seniority List (RSL) is near completion.

Kel Duff is now the head of both companies and has publicly stated he is considering the future of the regional operation under one air operator’s certificate (AOC). There have been a number of indicators over the past few years that this change was coming, which is why NZALPA has focused on the SoE and RSL work, and a greater interaction between the respective councils.  

CTC Aviation

NZALPA will soon commence negotiations for an inaugural collective agreement with CTC. Given the necessary preparations are now complete, this will soon be underway and more details will follow.

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