Dear Members,

The desire to "return to normal operations" is strong. Many of you have not been able to sit on the flight deck for months. The fear of job loss is depressingly present in many of us - for some, unfortunately, this fear has even become reality. All the greater is the desire to finally be able to put the thrust levers forward again and return to normal working life.

It is precisely in this situation that the safety culture of everyone involved in aviation is of particular importance. A lack of trust, feedback or fear of sanctions for human error can cause us to lose an important component of our safety culture in day-to-day flight operations - the ability to learn from mistakes.

Vivianne Schumacher
Director Flight Safety

This highlights the vital role of a well-established safety management system. The current enormous economic pressure must not lead to savings being made at the expense of safety. Now, it is therefore especially important to further promote and consolidate the elements of a positive safety culture. Particularly in times of crisis, management should put a special focus on maintaining the flow of information in flight operations, identifying risks in a timely manner and developing appropriate defensive measures.

At this point, I am pleased to be able to present SafeSky 2021, the new edition of our Aviation Safety Concept (see also the article below). Following the tradition of VC's flight safety work, in SafeSKY 2021 we highlight challenges for flight safety, identify weak points in the aviation system and present measures for maintaining and improving our high safety levels. After all, we as VC also see it as our responsibility to contribute to enhancing flight safety - and to do so from the perspective of cockpit crews - a perspective that cannot always be fully captured by safety management systems or flight safety plans.

EU Parliament discusses Working Conditions in Aviation

The European Parliament debated the impact of the pandemic on the airline industry in early July. With the support and strong commitment of VC, VNV and SNPL, our European umbrella organization ECA was able to organize majorities among the political groups to put this debate on the parliamentary agenda.

Based on two questions from the Committees for Transport and for Employment and Social Affairs, the consequences for employees were discussed. Various parliamentary groups showed great support for our issues, thus strengthening the employee side in the discussion.

In contrast, however, we had to take note of Transport Commissioner Valean's apparent failure to fully recognize the seriousness of the situation for employees and the resulting need for action. She is still of the opinion that the timetable for the amendment of Directive 1008/2008 can remain untouched, which would mean that amendments would only become effective in about one and a half years.

From our point of view, however, these amendments must not be delayed. We urgently need more employee-friendly regulations on the topics of "applicable law" and "ownership and control". This is the only way to protect the social rights of pilots working for transnational airlines, so that anti-employee practices such as fake home bases and the like will hopefully soon be a thing of the past.

Watch the plenary debate here

EU Climate Package "Fit for 55" - Pilots call for fair Competition Regulations

VC welcomes the ambitious climate protection targets laid down by the EU in its "Fit for 55" program. However, on the implementation agenda of these goals, VC criticizes that the objective of competition-neutral design is currently not apparent.

If European regulation increased costs and prices of flights via European hubs, passenger flows would shift to hubs in Dubai, Doha, Istanbul and London. This mere outsourcing of emissions (carbon leakage) does nothing to help our climate, yet it does ensure a major relocation and thus the loss of jobs in Europe.

"Without a level playing field, carbon leakage and massive job losses are inevitable," says VC President Stefan Herth. "Protecting global climate is a global task! German pilots stand behind the EU climate targets and we all want to do our part. But it simply does not protect the climate if we lose traffic and jobs to non-European airlines. That is why it is absolutely crucial that airlines operate under the same rules worldwide. Consistent global environment regimes are the only viable way towards a climate-neutral aviation sector transformation that does not leave workers and passengers behind."

The development of production capacities for alternative fuels should be facilitated and perceived as a European task. On the other hand, the planned kerosene tax that would only apply for intra-European flights is a counterproductive instrument in VC's view, because it deprives the industry of capital to invest in climate-friendly technologies. Weakening our domestic industry only leads to unfair advantages for non-European competitors.

VC Aviation Safety Concept SafeSky 2021 published

Until early 2020, the forecast growth in air traffic over the next few years was considered one of the greatest challenges facing aviation, especially with regard to flight safety. Even though this situation and with it the issues for flight safety have changed drastically due to the pandemic, challenges and demands on the system have by no means become smaller. It is against this background that the Flight Safety department has revised and updated the VC Aviation Safety Concept.

With SafeSKY 2021, we continue to highlight additional topics that may have an impact on flight safety, supplementing ICAO's Global Aviation Safety Plan and EASA's European Plan for Aviation Safety.

Among other aspects, we have added adaptations due to new findings and changed regulations in the 2021 edition. A total of seven new topics have been incorporated into SafeSKY 2021. These topics include:

  • Measures against Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
  • Mentoring
  • Individual Learning
  • COVID Return to Normal Operations
  • Peer Support for Mental Health and Mental Well-Being
  • Runway Excursions
  • Communications in emergency situations

VC Aviation Safety Concept SafeSky 2021 (As of now, only the original German version is available. An English version will be published in autumn.)

Licence stuck on the ground?

Most likely, each one of us has gone through this: All exams have been passed, the check flight successfully completed, all applications signed and submitted to the LBA (German Civil Aviation Authority). But then, full of impatience, the big wait for the new license begins. You really want to get going and fly (again), but there is no sign of activity and progress… So, days feel like weeks, and time passes agonizingly slowly, while you seem to be condemned to inactivity.

And it is exactly this feeling of not being in control of a situation that is usually quite unbearable for us pilots, as it is completely contrary to our entire training. That is why many of us try to get information about the process in the LBA and the expected date of issue through all channels...

But in fact, pushing is not a good idea! Frank Reuschling of our AG QUAT explains why this approach to speeding things up tends to make things even slower and how all of us can help expediting processes at the LBA:

Licence stuck on the Ground? (in German)

Joint Safety Bulletin - Mitigating Human Factors Hazards

The prolonged pandemic situation is causing several issues that may have a negative impact on aviation safety. In a Joint Safety Bulletin, IFALPA, IFATCA, CANSO, and IATA point out that increased attention should be paid to the area of human factors, as a safe resumption of flight operations is only possible with well-trained and confident personnel.

In the area of human factors, risks include ongoing changes in local, national, and international health and hygiene regulations, questions about job security and how a job loss might affect one's living situation, and increasing pandemic fatigue.

Mitigations suggested in the bulletin include more internal briefings on the current situation and regulations, fostering a positive safety culture, strengthening the well-being of stakeholders in the aviation system, and giving special consideration to human factors in risk assessments. Detailed information can be found in the Safety Bulletin:

Mitigating Human Factors Hazards in the context of the operating environment during and post COVID-19

Webinar - Organization & Change Management Throughout a Pandemic

The uncertainty caused by COVID-19 is prompting many aviation stakeholders to explore new ways of working together. In addition to the need to minimize the negative impact of the pandemic on workforce and operations, there is also a need to explore ways to ensure and increase resilience.

IFALPA Executive Vice-President, Technical & Safety Standards and VC member Uwe Harter will present the webinar "Organization & Change Management Throughout a Pandemic" on July 29, 10:30 UTC. The webinar is free of charge.

Information & Registration

Take our Survey:

Our survey on the topic of Safety II (find more information in the Skybrary) is continuously online. The more of you that take it, the better the results and hence our argumentative basis for flight safety will be. That is why we would like to point out once again that it is still possible to take the survey.

To the survey "Pilots as a Resource for System Resilience"

Airbus Safety First Magazine - System Reset: Use with Caution

Have you tried switching it off and on again?! The well-known solution of IT experts is usually worth a try on a home computer, but on an aircraft it can lead to undesirable side effects. Airbus Safety First Magazine points out that performing an improper manual system reset in flight, as well as multiple system resets on the ground, can have serious consequences.

System Reset: Use with Caution

News from Associations, Organisations and Regulators

ICAO - new ICAO-TV videos (free registration required)

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