Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Sectoral social dialogue - Civil aviation

Sectors of activity :

Social partners

Workers' organisations Employers' organisations
European Cockpit Association (ECA) ACI Europe – Airport Council International
European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) European Regions Airline Association (ERA)
In the air traffic management field: International Air Carrier Association  (AIRE)
ATCEUC – Air Traffic Controllers European Union Coordination Airport Services Association (ASA)
  Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO)

Social dialogue in this sector covers activities involving passenger and freight air transport (both scheduled and non-scheduled) and civil aviation (air crew, ground handling, air traffic management).

Air transport makes a key contribution to the EU economy, as the figures below show:

  • over 120 scheduled airlines
  • over 450 airports
  • 60 air navigation service providers
  • 880m departures from or arrivals at EU airports in 2014

In 2013, EU-licensed airlines directly employed 425 000 people. The total comes to 1.4m if we include:

  • airport operators & ground-handling activities
  • building & repairing aircraft
  • flying schools
  • air transport-related activities performed by travel agencies & regulatory bodies.

If we include all other economic activities carried out at airports (trade, hotels, catering, cargo handling, land transport, public services, etc.) and their combined indirect effects, air transport and airports provide 4.8m jobs. Together, they contribute €300bn to EU GDP (gross domestic product).

Major challenges include:

  • the absence of a global level playing field,
  • the increasingly competitive environment
  • structural changes - the low-cost model & atypical forms of employment
  • the Single European Sky initiative.

Key areas

The Committee is currently focusing on:

  • action following the Commission's Aviation Strategy for Europe
  • action following the joint statement on implementation of the Single European Sky initiative and the proposal for a regulation on ground handling services
  • combating violence at work, especially violence against women and third-party violence
  • atypical employment (outsourcing, independent and self-employed workers)
  • how to facilitate transnational collective labour agreements at company level.

Activities and meetings

Check the library entries for this sectoral social dialogue committee.

Recent achievements

  • 2016 - Toolbox for successful social dialogue in air transport management
  • 2015 - Joint statement by AEA, ECA and ETF on atypical employment within the Air Crew Working Group
  • 2015 – Study: 'Atypical Employment in Aviation'
  • 2014 - Joint declaration against EU-based flags of convenience in aviation
  • 2013 - Joint recommendations by ATCEUC, CANSO and ETF on mobility of workers within the ATM sector
  • 2013 - Joint statement by ATCEUC, CANSO and ETF on the SES II+ package
  • 2012 - Guidelines for consultation arrangements for functional airspace blocks
  • 2011 - 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

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