Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
#1807456
For as long as I can remember the sound advice from aviation forums to eager gagging schoolchildren wanting to become airline pilots has been to 'finish your education, your A levels and even get a degree/well paid job as back-up first, in case it all goes tits-up'

That advice right now has never been so relevant.............. :wink:
#1807462
The challenge here is the damage it does to the UK professional pilot training industry. A two-year or so drying-up of the market, barely any new cadets coming in, frankly will finish off that sector in the UK with all the other handicaps there already are in the UK


I think this is quite likely to be the case. But what is the alternative? Personally bankrupt the young people who believe the training company adverts of ready jobs and good pay?

The fallout from the virus is going to be wide reaching and profound in some sectors. The leisure industries will come back, once demand returns - probably though under different ownership. The airline industry will recover - but over what timescale? My business travel has dropped right off, my videoconferencing is near fulltime. Will my clients happily burn £5k for me to personally attend? Or will they accept a somewhat poorer but much cheaper outcome?

Will people go on holiday when the merest hint of a reappearance of the virus will result in cancellations, closed borders and quarantine? Some will but many will not.

BALPA have a duty to look after their members and they seem to be doing what they can - I see that for the rest of this year Easyjet are running at 20% of their capacity, after selling and leasing back a large proportion of their fleet. So they too will not be looking for pilots for quite some time......

Sad times but such is the fallout of these sort of events.
#1807488
Let’s look at the stakeholders in this conundrum.

1) Airlines:

In the west, we have probably now lived through the historic peak of air travel for the masses. That volume is unlikely to return. Not least because we haven’t yet really seen the financial impact the virus will wreak on businesses and individuals.

Airlines are businesses who’s need for pilots constantly varies. They can turn the tap on, turn the tap off, and even open the plug hole whenever they wish. They will pay pilots what the market dictates. Over supply of pilots inevitably means permanent reductions to T&Cs. In other words, fewer pilots cover more work for less reward.

2) Training schools:

Training schools are a sausage machine. Turn up with a dream and a suitcase full of cash, and they will promise you the world, and relieve you of your cash. They often work in cahoots with the airlines to provide those carriers with cheap (self financed) labour which again, inevitably drives down T&Cs. Sometimes those with dreams will either work for free, or even pay to fly! Such is the gossamer thin veneer of occupational ‘glamour’ for those wishing to promote their ‘grand’ lives on SM.

3) BALPA

The entire reason d’etre of this organisation is to protect, promote and where possible improve T&Cs for professional pilots. It is indisputable that they frequently get things wrong, and can be hijacked by individuals with personal agendas. That doesn’t make it unique!

If this Association is recommending aspiring individuals suspend their dreams for a while, there may very well be more than one motivation at play? One could quite possibly be to improve the chances of it’s currently redundant members to regain employment? (Many of whom could well have been heavily indebted ‘aspiring dreamers’ themselves only 18 months ago?)

Or it could be that this association is attempting to warn ‘aspiring dreamers’ to keep their cash in the bank rather than donating a six figure sum to the training schools, who will pocket their money and then wave them off as they join the dole queue.

These aspiring dreamers will then be keen to secure any airline job for no pay, or even pay to fly. Thereby permanently undervaluing the career for everyone. So the airlines win, and the training schools have had their pound of flesh, ready to move on to the next stream of applicants.

Anyone thinking it’s really the training schools who need protection, or that BALPA have overstepped the mark, really ought to spend more time navel gazing.

A number of actors are working in unison to reduce T&Cs for pilots. Airline pilots in particular. BALPA is not one of them!
#1807490
johnm wrote:One scenario I've discussed with my formerly world travelling son.........

Short haul, especially loco, will bounce back pretty quickly, but mostly for holiday flights. Business flights will reduce permanently on "green" and cost grounds and there'll be a permanent shift in the balance of Zoom type meetings versus face to face.

Long Haul will be slow to recover and patchy because of different rates at which the pandemic eases in different places. The risk of long haul holidays means that fewer will go for a year or two at least. Business flights will suffer the same shift in balance as short haul.

What that implies for pilot training needs I know not.....


I agree. The leisure market will recover, but business travel will not. I think if it does, it'll take many many years before it does. It did after 9/11 & 2008 but this might be different.
#1807491
G-JWTP wrote:Just after the first lockdown I was speaking to a young man and his father at Turweston.
Just prior to lockdown, he had just come back from training on an Airlines cadet scheme.

220 hrs and an MPL.

On arrival back home he recieved a notice of termination of employment, and the paperwork for the repayment scheme for the £120k loan.

His licence is pretty much useless now.

His father who was with him told me quietly, that he was going to remortgage his home to bale out his son.

Perhaps in the future HMG could force the employer to pay for training. Just like it is in most other industries.

G-JWTP


If this young man was bonded by his employer for £120000 of training and has now had his employment terminated by his employer then his bond agreement ceases to exist.

Tell the employer to politely to jog on for their money.
#1807494
If this young man was bonded by his employer for £120000 of training and has now had his employment terminated by his employer then his bond agreement ceases to exist.

Unless you know differently, (and you might?) as I understand it, that’s not generally how these financial arrangements are rigged. The liability now all falls on the individual. Often including their parents as final guarantor.
#1807495
A4 Pacific wrote:
If this young man was bonded by his employer for £120000 of training and has now had his employment terminated by his employer then his bond agreement ceases to exist.

Unless you know differently, (and you might?) as I understand it, that’s not generally how these financial arrangements are rigged. The liability now all falls on the individual. Often including their parents as final guarantor.


It will depend on wether the employer paid for his training and they entered into a bond agreement were the cost of the training reduces over a period of years. If the trainee decides to leave during the bonded period then they have to repay the balance, although to be honest bonds of this type are very difficult for the employer to recover their money if trainee decides to leave and refuse to pay, however that can have a negative effect on getting future employment when references are requested.

If the young man has actually signed a loan agreement with the company but in his own name rather than the companies name ( very foolish idea ) then the company can just dump the employee leaving them with a huge loan in to pay.
#1807499
If the young man has actually signed a loan agreement with the company but in his own name rather than the companies name ( very foolish idea ) then the company can just dump the employee leaving them with a huge loan in to pay.

That is precisely as I understand many/most(?) of these schemes operate these days! For precisely the reasons to which you allude.

Shylock comes to mind.
#1807505
A4 Pacific wrote:Shylock comes to mind.


I'm pretty sure nobody was forced to sign these agreements, they are contracts between consenting parties who knew the T&Cs and risks before getting involved.

The rot set in with 'Pay To Fly' a couple of decades ago and pilots/crew have been eating away at their own working conditions ever since. I have been bonded several times in my career and the only time I broke one was for an outfit of bottom feeders who tried to have me break the rules every day. I paid them off (pro-rata) and moved on.

I have never paid for a type rating and never will, particularly from the likes of Ryanair who treat it as an income stream and charge over the odds. This has culled me from the list of applicants many times but I'm okay with that, I found another route.

I'm the furthest thing from a lover of management having been described several times as "A typical ****ing awkward pilot" (and worse) but I've been telling wannabees and their parents not to sign these bloody things for 20+ years. They rarely listen.
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#1807511
I expect that I am not the only one to notice the irony of seeing the "Pilot Career Lives" tweets on the right of the screen proclaiming "What a day" as I read this thread with its topic of BALPA saying "don't train" etc. :roll:

Be interested to hear from Ian or someone virtually attending the careers two day event whether the current situation is being tackled head on or swept under the virtual carpet?

From my own experience I started during the post Gulf War aviation crisis (BA cadets working as cabin crew) then was laid off after 9-11 and took 50% part-time in 2008 to save colleagues' jobs. Fortuitously, I could see things were headed were I didn't want to go, so took early retirement a couple of years ago, so now I'm settled in my new life of aviation maintenance and hearing some real horror stories from old friends of woe and ruthlessness from restructuring airline managements.

I am also doing some instructing at the professional school next door, so can see the modular guys are keeping their heads level and simply adjusting their sights accordingly, this ties in with my overall view that there "never" is a good or bad time to go through the system, you just have to do it if the drive is there and make it happen. I remember giving this advice to Andy R when he got on this rocky route and he showed perfectly that not all roads lead to an airliner left hand seat if you stay adaptable and determined.

So I suppose it looks like we have come full circle already and perhaps my own self-improver route of thirty years ago, which became eclipsed by the full time cadets has now morphed into the modular route as the best flexible way to achieve your flying ambition and still get there: hell or high water!

P.S> Apologies to those locked down, looking skywards, but the last two nights of night rating training have been glorious up there!! :pirat: Fingers crossed the restrictions will lift for everyone to enjoy it up there again soon.
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#1807538
The other issue for training schools is what licence their customers will want. As we have left EASA and the EU pilots who are UK citizens no longer have the automatic right to live and work elsewhere in Europe so an EASA licence is a help but is not the whole story in getting a job.
#1807543
I think the basic issue is if you want to take an integrated course, you are shelling out a large sum of money and will be on the market in 18 months time. Historically, Easyjet and Ryanair are the main destinations of those trainees, with a few going to charter and holiday airlines.

Thomas Cook and Flybe went bust, and every other airline has either made redundancies with an agreement to rehire pilots made redundant first or taken large swathes of temporary part time to be wound back to full time by up to 2024. It follows that no UK airline is projected to need to recruit in a meaningful way for 3-4 years. If you were training to be ready for late 2023/4 you might be in with a shout but not if starting in the next year or so.

Business aviation jobs don’t tend to go to integrated course graduates a they tend not to hire people with no experience, they are more likely to go to former modular students with experience instructing, MEP/survey flying &c.

As above, if you have a secure job and the money isn’t life changing, carrying on modular training and slowly building experience is the way to go if you are determined. Anyone suggesting this is just BALPA protected the job prospects/interests of their members (who by the way include student members still under training) has not lived through the last 12 months of commercial aviation.
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#1807546
OP,

I’m assuming you ‘vehemently disagree’ with the virus, not the BALPA statement.

BALPA would be bonkers to encourage new commercial pilots ATM. The industry has been shattered, and doesn’t look like it’ll improve for years. Why would anyone want to risk £100,000 on a licence that is of no use to them?
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