My Department is aware of the Ricardo study on employment and working conditions of aircrews in the EU internal aviation market (“the Ricardo Study”) and the Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions concerning the Aviation Strategy for Europe: Maintaining and promoting high social standards (“the Commission’s Report”).
The Ricardo Study questioned the self-employment of pilots that indicated that they did not have the flexibility to determine when they wanted to fly and for how many hours. Such flexibility would be unusual, however, as airlines generally operate scheduled services.
The Commission’s Report re-iterated many of the findings of the Ricardo Study and also called for the establishment of an ad hoc group of Member State experts dealing with aviation and labour law matters to identify best practices, ensuring a level playing field and quality working conditions. The first meeting of this expert group took place in Brussels in early April 2019 with aviation officials from my Department attending. The next meeting is scheduled for the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020.
Issues that have been raised in relation to atypical employment and the standard of employment conditions in aviation are equally valid for other employment sectors far larger than aviation, such as construction, IT, hospitality, healthcare, etc. In order to maintain the coherence of the wider EU social dimension, such matters should be addressed through wider employment legislation at EU and Member State level, rather than at sector (aviation) level.
One of the numerous regulated areas of aviation safety is that relating to flying hours for aircrew. Compliance with these rules is overseen by the Irish Aviation Authority, in respect of airlines licensed in Ireland.