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Sectoral social dialogue - Civil aviation

Social partners

Employees' organisations Employers' organisations
European Cockpit Association ACI Europe
European Transport Workers' Federation Association of European Airlines
  Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation
  European Regions Airline Association
In the air traffic management field: International Air Carrier Association
ATCEUC Airport Services Association

Social dialogue in this sector covers:

  • civil aviation (air crew, ground handling, air traffic management).

Air transport makes a key contribution to the European economy, with more than 150 scheduled airlines, over 400 airports, and 60 air navigation service providers. There were an estimated 700,000 direct employees in the EU air transport sector in 2010 (airlines, airports, independent ground handling, independent maintenance, air navigation service providers, flight training). Indirect employment generated by the sector is estimated at 2 million.

Airlines and airports alone contribute more than €140 billion to the European GDP. Some 800 million passengers departed or arrived at EU airports in 2010.

Major challenges for the industry are the absence of a global level playing field, the strong impact of the economic crisis, high fuel prices, an increasingly competitive environment, structural changes (such as the development of the low cost model and the development of transnational employment) and the implementation of the Single European Sky initiative.

In 2009, the ATCEUC and the ETF agreed to formalise their cooperation in the context of European social dialogue. Both recognise each other as social partners in the air traffic management (ATM) field and as organisations that represent air traffic controllers at European level. ATCEUC recognises ETF as a representative of all other ATM personnel at European level. This agreement ensures ATCEUC's involvement in the social dialogue – very relevant in the context of the Single European Sky initiative.

Focus areas

The Committee is currently focusing on: 

  • following the implementation of the Single European Sky initiative and the proposal for a Regulation on ground handling services
  • dialogue on current issues at stake and, if appropriate, establishing joint expressions
  • following up previously signed joint opinions.

Activities and meetings

Check the library entries for this sectoral social dialogue committee.


  • Guidelines for Consultation arrangements for Functional Airspace Blocks (2012)
  • Joint statement on the role of European social dialogue in the implementation of the Single European Sky (2011)
  • Joint Position on the Social Security Regime applicable to Air Crews (2011)
  • Statement on the revision of the ground handling directive (2011)
  • European agreement on the organisation of working time of mobile staff in civil aviation (2000) implemented by Council Directive 2000/79/EC

See also "European sectoral social dialogue – recent developments" (2010 brochure).


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