Dear Members,

In less than five weeks, the German Bundestag will be newly elected. In this tight race, results are certainly awaited with much excitement as they will provide the basis on which parties will be able to form the new governing coalition and which party can appoint the new chancellor.

To make your choice easier with regard to professional issues, we have compiled an overview of the most important parts from the election programs of the parties represented in the Bundestag. Please find the link to the PDF in the article below.

2021 is also an important election year for VC. In some airlines, new collective bargaining committees have already been formed and a new Executive Board has been elected by all eligible members in May. I am happy to see that experience and many years of participation as well as new ideas and impulses combine on these committees.

Carolin Bach
Chair of the Advisory Council

The Advisory Council elections are now joining in on the VC super election year. Through various newsletters and Waypoints articles we have already informed you about this and we would like to remind you of the deadline for submitting a candidacy (01.09.21, 12:00 CEST).

We are looking forward to numerous applications and an equally diverse mix of experience and curiosity for this varied task.

Cleared for Voting 2021

The 2021 federal elections are coming up on 26 September. The parties differ with regard to VC's policy issues, in some cases considerably. For the purpose of political orientation, we have prepared an overview with excerpts of the most important sections of the election programs of the parties represented in the Bundestag.

The following topics have been taken into consideration:

  • Air traffic
  • Luftverkehrsteuer (German air traffic tax) / fuel taxation
  • CO2 taxation / CO2 pricing
  • Alternative fuels / SAF / PtL / hydrogen
  • Tarifeinheitsgesetz (German collective bargaining unity act)/ collective bargaining agreements
  • Trade unions / works councils

Download the overview "Auszüge aus Wahlprogrammen der im Bundestag vertretenen Parteien" (PDF, in German only).

In addition to the excerpts from the election programs, there will be a special Waypoints edition shortly before the election. In it, representatives of the six parties in the Bundestag will have their say on what they consider to be the most important issues for the aviation industry and its employees.

The restriction to the six parties represented in the Bundestag was necessary because a total of 47 parties are running, 40 of which have lists. It would have gone far beyond the scope of this issue to include all of them. The excerpts from the election programs are provided for information purposes only and do not claim to be complete due to the sometimes very broad scope of some of the topics in the election programs. It goes without saying that the VC does not adopt the positions of the parties as its own and does not assume any liability for the contents listed here, which originate exclusively from the respective parties.

Security Working Group Briefing: On the current Situation of Afghan Airspace

VC welcomes the decision of international airlines to avoid flying in Afghan airspace, even without government instructions to do so, after the Afghan authorities announced the complete breakdown of civil air traffic control over their airspace via NOTAM.

On 17 August 2021, the "Integrated EU Aviation Security Assessment Group" held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. This group meets on a quarterly basis and consists of members from each EU member state and the EU Commission. Even under the current pandemic conditions, these meetings are largely held in person, as highly sensitive information is sometimes exchanged. These meetings can therefore only be organized on an ad-hoc basis with appropriate advance notice.

In this meeting, the impact of current developments in Afghanistan on civil aviation and air traffic safety in Afghan airspace was discussed. Among other things, the following key risks to civil aviation were identified:

  • Anti-aircraft missiles in the hands of the Taliban
  • Use of Afghan airspace by Taliban military aircraft (there is no assessment of their capabilities and level of training)
  • Poor ground infrastructure in case of necessary diversions (emergency or enforced by military)

Based on this assessment, EASA issued its "Information Note on the Airspace of Afghanistan", which, however, is not legally binding on member states and their air carriers. This recommendation is valid until further notice and the next regular meeting of the Group will be held in September.

The Dutch Safety Board has intensively reviewed the circumstances surrounding the downing of MH17 and PS752, identifying in particular the existence of air defence missile systems as an important reason for recommending a precautionary approach to risk assessments by air carriers. In classical risk assessments, which have proven their worth in safety management systems, the qualitative risks of such air defence systems are regularly converted into quantitative risks that are too low (see Dutch Safety Board (2021). Safe flight routes. Responses to escalating conflicts. 2021 Report, page 69ff.).

The need to improve risk assessments with regard to crisis areas has also been identified by the Expert Group on Risk Information Overflying Conflict Zones (EGRICZ) and Safer Skies Initiative, in which Germany is a member. The VC Security Working Group agrees with this risk assessment.

Further information:

Learning from Mistakes - AIRPROX Magazin 2021 published

The Aircraft Proximity Evaluation Group (APEG) has published its annual AIRPROX Magazin (in German), which presents exemplary aircraft proximities in an anonymous way and the lessons learned.

By raising awareness of airspace rules and understanding other airspace users, safety can still be significantly improved, especially in lower airspace. Among other things, the incident of an A321 approaching Hamburg is included, which shows how quickly unknown traffic can be encountered even at airports with a supposedly unproblematic airspace structure.

Experts from all areas of aviation work together in the APEG and meet regularly under the moderation of the Federal Supervisory Office for Air Navigation Services (BAF). VC is an integral part of this body.

You can download the AIRPROX Magazin (PDF, in German) directly here or order the print version here on the BAF website.

Study on ultra-fine particulate Matter Exposure on Board

A British study has analysed the concentration of ultrafine particles (UFP) in cabin air on four short-haul flights aboard A320 aircraft. The brief study explores whether particulate exposure may be associated with normal engine/APU and air supply operation. Increases in UFP concentrations were found to be associated with engine and APU power changes and with changes in air supply configuration.

These results correlate with times when engine and APU oil seals are known to be less effective, resulting in oil leakage. Concentrations found in cabin air exceeded those measured in ground environments. UFP exposure in aircraft cabin during normal flight suggests that exposure may have health consequences for long-time aircrew and some passengers.

Study: Ultrafine particle levels measured on board short‑haul commercial passenger jet aircraft

A Focus on Runway Safety - Global Reporting Format (GRF)

Runway safety is a top priority for ICAO. In the EU, the new Global Reporting Format (GRF) for assessing and reporting runway surface conditions has already been in force since August 12. As a new ICAO standard, the GRF will apply worldwide from 4 November.

The new format is expected to improve assessment of take off and landing performance by harmonizing the way conditions are assessed and reported worldwide. EASA expects this to reduce the risks of runway excursions, which are among the most common forms of safety-related runway incidents.

In VC Info, members of the Airport & Ground Environment and Air Traffic Services Working Groups published an article in April that discusses the practical implications of the GRF: VC Info article Global Reporting Format

EASA hosted a webinar to introduce the new GRF methodology. The recording, presentations, and stakeholder input are available on EASA's website: New Global Reporting Format methodology for Runway Surface Conditions now applicable!

Further information and links on the GRF are also available at ICAO: The New Global Reporting Format for Runway Surface Conditions

And beyond that, there is even more information on the ICAO website "Uniting Aviation": How can high-tech sensors improve runway safety?

In this Waypoints edition, we have three surveys for you. Two of them from our European umbrella organization ECA, which once again calls on everyone who has not yet participated to do so. More participants means better results and both ECA and VC need meaningful data for effective work at the European as well as the German level.

ECA - Social rating of European airlines

This short anonymous survey offers European pilots the opportunity to rate their airlines and determine where they sit on the social/unsocial scale. The intention is to take stock of pilot satisfaction in Europe’s cockpits.
To the Survey

ECA - Pilots as a resource for system resilience

The survey aims at analysing pilots’ abilities to creatively cope with an ever-changing and potentially unfamiliar environment. Gathering the knowledge on these is essential in view of the emerging new philosophy for reducing pilot interventions in various phases of flight.
To the survey

Airline pilot proficiency during the COVID-19 pandemic

Participation in this survey, which is part of Andrew Mizzi's master's thesis, is still open until 31 August. He is looking for pilots who have been grounded for a period of time and need/needed training events to get back into the air. The main focus is on maintaining or regaining proficiency and skills. The results will be made available to our QUAT working group, among others, and will thus help us directly.
To the survey

News from Associations, Organisations and Regulators

FAA / EASA - Problems with enforcing mask wearing obligations on board

OPS Group - Security challenges / Qatar pursues establishment of own FIR

  • Over the past one and a half years, the aviation community has been focused primarily on one issue with which we all are just too familiar. The OPS Group points to other problems in the field of security which may have gotten a little bit out of sight. The threats we face continue to evolve here as well. Among other things, the briefing deals with conflict zones, terrorism, and cybersecurity: Beyond Covid: The Biggest Security Risks We Face Right Now
  • OPS Group also analyses Qatar's efforts to establish its own FIR over its territory. Until now, Qatar's airspace has been largely controlled from Bahrain. To the Briefing: New Airspace On The Way In the Middle East: The Doha FIR

We continuously strive to improve our newsletter and welcome your feedback. Please send comments and suggestions to or use the reply function of your mail programme. To stay up to date with the latest news, follow us on: