UK low-cost carrier EasyJet has agreed with the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) a working contract for flightcrew, intended to give job beginners a definite career path into regular employment with the airline.

BALPA says that EasyJet - among other carriers - has been employing several hundred pilots on flexible contracts via external agencies for years without a clear structure for them to become permanent employees at the low-cost carrier.

Under the new deal, trainee co-pilots can only be hired through external agencies for up to a year. This period counts as a probation period. Thereafter the airline has to employ the pilot as a second officer with a minimum salary of £38,000 ($59,000) a year.

After a year of working as second officer, the employees will be promoted to first-officer status, with the next promotion to senior first officer due to follow after an additional two years in active employment.

If the employees are thereafter promoted to captains, the "normal command contract" will apply, says BALPA.

The union adds that it is still negotiating new terms for ab initio trainees, which are aimed to reduce the financial burden for self-funded cadet pilots. This will involve a pre-selection test for aspiring ab initio trainees.

BALPA says it is developing loan arrangements with EasyJet - such as underwriting of loans - which should enable the cadets to negotiate better interest rates and holiday payments, and vary the length of the payback period.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news