Dear Members,

The topic of official recognition of the pilot profession has come up from time to time over the past decades and often went down again quite quickly. But now it is back with full force! In light of the Corona crisis, we can see very clearly the disadvantages that can result from insufficient recognition, especially for colleagues who are threatened or affected by unemployment.


VC therefore demands that the profession of "commercial airline pilot" finally be recognized by the government and authorities in Germany. And we have good reasons for our demand: among other things, years of training, the permanent advanced training, and also the great responsibility for people and technology.


Other countries such as France and Spain have set an example and have already recognized "pilot" as an official profession. It is time for Germany to follow the examples of our European neighbours! We firmly believe that our concern will also receive great support from the political side.

Markus Wahl
President

Difficult Agreement with TUIfly

After weeks of mediation, TUIfly-TK reached an agreement with the employer on collective arrangements to cushion the restructuring. The way to this agreement was very difficult for us because of TUIfly's intransigent attitude.


It includes severe cuts in company pensions and productivity issues, as well as temporary concessions on income, in order to increase the number of protected cockpit staff to 370. Nevertheless, of the more than 500 employees, at least 130 pilots are still at risk of losing their jobs. Important collective labour agreements, such as the pay and the basic agreement, are thus basically frozen until 2025 and 2026 respectively.


For the future, we expect that these painful concessions will not be forgotten and that the TUI group will remember that pilots stand by their company during the crisis.

#ChooseToChallenge - International Women's Day

March 8 is International Women's Day. The international community of pilots and air traffic controllers have joined together this year to call for gender equality in the aviation industry.


VC is committed to promoting diversity, equality and inclusion in our profession. Among other things, we have established the Working Group Diversity and Social (AG DAS) and committed to using gender-neutral language. From challenge comes change! So we say:


#ChooseToChallenge


By the way: on the occasion of International Women's Day, the ICAO Council also made a commitment in the form of a "Declaration on Improving Gender Representation in ICAO’s Governing and Technical Bodies".

© Rido / Shutterstock.com

Thinking outside the Box - Series on Job Alternatives

VC supports you with ideas and concepts for professional development in times of pandemic. The second article in the series "Thinking outside the Box" ("Über den Tellerrand", in German only) by Nina Moers is about short-time work, the lack of professional recognition and having a plan B.

Official Recognition of the Pilot-Profession - Interview with Sören Lünne, Head of AG QUAT and Task Force Profession

Sören, why is the recognition of our profession important?
Today, careers are rarely as linear as they used to be, and aviation is no longer an exception. As a result, many of us - intentionally or unintentionally - end up doing jobs outside the cockpit. That is why we need proof of our skills and qualifications that is accepted on the labour market.


In addition, there is the problem that many authorities do not really know how to treat pilots. Unless one brings along an additional degree, for example in the form of a graduation, this may lead to a classification as a semi-skilled helper in the worst case, which obviously is absurd and can lead to serious disadvantages in the granting of state benefits.

Sören Lünne
FO A320 &
Master of Engineering

Then, of course, the question arises: Why has this recognition not already happened?
On the one hand, our need for recognition on the labour market simply has not been as urgent in the past as it has now become due to the crisis. This may have led to a situation in recent years in which projects for recognition were not pursued on a sustained basis.


More importantly, however, a great deal has happened in the last 10 years in terms of internationally comparable professional recognition in the sense of a "legal framework". Qualification frameworks that make degrees and qualifications comparable were first introduced slowly at the European level (EQF) and later at the German level (DQR). In some countries, our profession has been recognized under these conditions in recent years. Germany must now follow suit and we are working on this.


What kind of recognition do we specifically want to achieve?
We aim to be classified at level 6 of the German Qualification Framework. A bachelor's degree, for example, can also be found at this level. It should be noted that qualifications at one level are equivalent, but not necessarily of the same kind. Therefore, for an academic career, you would most likely still have to complete a bachelor before studying a regular master's program. On the other hand, there is a real advantage for colleagues who have to go to the employment agency and/or apply for a job that requires a bachelor's degree or "a comparable qualification".


Do you think VC can make it?
A very clear "yes" to this! We have excellent arguments on our side, such as the internationally comparable training at a very high level. This is already recognized by many other countries, such as Great Britain, France and Spain, at Level 6. In Germany, too, there are various bodies that deal with the recognition of professions. Of course, we are also in talks with politicians about this. In this respect, we are optimistic about the further process.

Eurocontrol: Massive Increase in GNSS Interferences

In a new think paper, Eurocontrol points out the sharp increase in the number of interferences with GNSS signals in parts of its network: Eurocontrol Think Paper #9 - Radio Frequency Interference to satellite navigation: An active threat for aviation?


The organization estimates that over 38% of European en-route traffic operates in regions where intermittent Radio Frequency Interferences (RFIs) occur regularly. The interferences lead to higher pilot and controller workload, increased demands on complementary systems and reduced efficiency of the air traffic network. As such, they pose a serious threat and mitigating action is needed.


The think paper analyses the situation and addresses the following questions:

  • what lies behind the massive rise in RFI reported across the European network?
  • where are the majority of RFI incidents occurring?
  • what needs to be done to mitigate the problem?


Stakeholder Forum recording


To accompany the publication of the think paper, Eurocontrol also held a stakeholder forum on RFI in early March, which was attended by experts from NATO, IATA, and Eurocontrol, among others. NATO's view was that civil aviation relies too much on individual systems and that continuing RFI should be expected in the future. Therefore, the use of GNSS / GPS in the civil sector should be made more robust in order to increase reliability.

The recording can be found here.

Information for Flights across the North Atlantic

IFALPA draws attention to two ICAO bulletins regarding flights over the North Atlantic:


The OPS Group analyses "the long-awaited and much-discussed scenario" for the North Atlantic: No published NAT tracks, but all aircraft on random routes: "NAT Tracks NIL – an experiment".

Imminent Volcanic Eruption on Iceland?

NOTAMs for the Iceland-FIR and the aviation colour code "orange" indicate the possibility that a volcanic eruption may be imminent on Iceland. In addition, increased activity is also currently detected at Etna in southern Italy, which has already emitted considerable ash clouds into altitudes of air traffic.


Please find further information and links on the VC Info website (in German).

DFS: More direct Routing in Upper Airspace

Since February 25, DFS has been offering "Free Route Airspace" (FRA) all day in the entire area of responsibility of the Karlsruhe centre. According to the DFS press release, direct routings are available at altitudes above FL245. With Free Route Airspace, DFS hopes to improve horizontal and vertical routing and thus reduce flight times.


In the future, the use of existing FRA airspaces in the area of the DFS control centres in Bremen and Munich, which are still limited to nighttime hours, is also to be extended in terms of time. In addition, DFS is striving to create further cross-border FRA options in cooperation with neighbouring countries.


Please find further information in the DFS press release.

You can always go around - and sometimes you should

There are many reasons for a go around - yet even when one occurs, the landing is often continued, writes Chris Shieff of the OPS Group. Based on aircraft accident analyses, runway excursions are one of the five high-risk categories according to ICAO and EASA - albeit many of them could be prevented by going around.


In his article, Chris analyses the reasons for an excessive reluctance to go around and shows solutions to the problem. Read the full story here: Unstable Approaches: Why Aren’t We Going Around?

News from Associations, Organisations and Regulators


OPS Group


Survey - Taxiing

  • The Advanced Engine Off Navigation (AEON) project aims to reduce emissions from taxiing and is investigating different approaches to achieve this, including taxibots, e-taxi systems and single engine taxiing. The project, which involves TU Delft and the French Civil Aviation University ENAC, also surveys stakeholders such as pilots: Click here for the survey.

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