The European Cockpit Association (ECA) is to call on the European Commission (EC) to safeguard safety standards and pilots' working conditions as the low cost carrier (LCC) segment grows in Europe. A report drawn up by the association's industrial sub-group will be presented to the EC in September and builds on a presentation given at the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations conference in June.

The ECA estimates that by 2010 one-third of all Europe's pilots will fly for LCCs. The association says that it is concerned that, unlike full service airlines, LCCs operate under various national authorities, and contracts have international re-location clauses. "A Hahn-based pilot working for Ryanair can be working under German labour laws one week and three months later be based in Dublin and working under Irish conditions," says ECA general secretary Giancarlo Crivella. "We encourage the growth of LCCs, but want to ensure that there are no loopholes left to be exploited," he says.

The study shows that, on average, LCCs pilots fly 25% more and are paid 25% less than their flag carrier counterparts. The report also calls on the EC to guarantee that LCCs operating from hubs in several countries follow safety regulations as strictly as national airlines.

Source: Flight International