CAT Editor-in-Chief Rick Adams spoke with the ECA’s Capt. Otjan de Bruijn about the uncertain prospects for pilots of European carriers.
Pilots flying for airlines based in European Union countries are perhaps more at risk than their American counterparts for two critical reasons: so-called “self-employment” contracts at low-cost carriers and a smaller pool of senior pilots expected to retire.
Of the 65,000 pilots in the EU (40,000 of them represented by the European Cockpit Association), about 12,000 were hired under what ECA refers to as “atypical” contracts, i.e. self-employed freelancers rather than airline employees in schemes used by such airlines as Norwegian and Ryanair. Capt. Otjan de Bruijn, Vice President of the volunteer-run association and a B777 pilot for KLM, told CAT they conservatively estimate half of such pilots lost their jobs early in the Covid crisis.
In addition, ECA estimates another 9,000 traditional pilot jobs are at risk, or 15,000 total.