View Full Version : Ba pilots unpaid leave?
27th Aug 2003, 17:53
tells us that BA pilots are being offered unpaid leave from LGW over the winter. Anyone got more?
27th Aug 2003, 18:30
Unpaid Leave for BA pilots has been available for the last 2 years. The unpaid leave is part of the Business Response Plan put into place to conserve cash after the events of Sept. 11 and is available to ALL staff.
Anybody who wants to apply puts forward their application with the dates they want off (3 months - 12 months available) and subject to manpower requirements it is granted. The most recent application window for flight crew closed about a month ago, but if they feel there is excess capacity there very well may be a further opportunity. Times are still tough for the airline so efforts to control costs are still at the forefront.
I took 6 months unpaid last winter, and whilst feeling much poorer, I would not have swapped it for anything. Had a incredible time travelling down through SE Asia, Oz & NZ. Refreshes the soul - recommend it to everybody :)
27th Aug 2003, 18:36
I understood they were short of crews on the B777.
27th Aug 2003, 19:43
Basil - that was my understanding of the situation. Perhaps the excess capacity is in shorthaul.
28th Aug 2003, 01:31
October, November and December are going to be difficult months on the Training front for BA.
As per the fleet newsletter, the RJ secondees are all returning from BACX during October and all of these guys need a course I understand that there is about 40+ of these pilots. Couple that with the end of the ATR flying in October again 15+ people who need courses. To add to that the Concorde flight crew are all taking longhall commands circa October/Novemeber, this has stunted movement up the food chain from SH to LH that was not allowed for in the first P&P run. Then in February/March the 737 at LHR is supposed to run down adding more people into the equation............ well that was last weeks plan, but even with Cranebank operating at Max capacity it still means people sitting around being unproductive, so BA are trying their luck by giving unpaid leave:rolleyes:
The company I am told will still need to get Pilots from somewhere, the Cadet pool will run out this summer. Its rumoured the company are reluctant to recruit because of the closure of NAPS and industrial problems this may cause with the pilots.:( :( :*
28th Aug 2003, 04:24
LGW SH is going to be very short of guys as they all reach the 800 hr mark before the end of the year
Here at LHR we are working our B**l**ks off so god knows who they will let take unpaid leave.
The first pilot that they don't put into NAPS will mean that BALPA will ballot for strike action. That would have a 95% vote and the airline would cease to operate. To protect their pensions the top 50% would probably immediately retire on sickness grounds- they would have no choice really. Hearing problems is the top fav amongst the troups to lose your license and the cause for much discussion in bars around the world. The pension scheme is fairly generous to medically reired guys and as long as your top rate of pay is high enough it makes little difference how many years you have to go. As soon as the ballot goes out I'm into BAHS to see why I can't hear so good.
29th Aug 2003, 02:41
Youwererobbed, gives an interesting insight into why BA has been sinking for years and why it is unlikely to survive.
29th Aug 2003, 05:50
" strike action. That would have a 95% vote "
If I had a pound every time I'd read that on pprune then I'd be retiring too.
You may know that leaving won't necessarily protect your pension. All funds currently have a substantial deficit (like most FTSE companies) and if BA ceases to exist then although priority goes to retired members the trustees can distribute funds any way they see fit, they may not look to kindly on those who brought about the demise.
fiftyfour hits the nail on the head.
On Top & Cruising
30th Aug 2003, 06:29
So the RJ secondee's are going back to the mothership in Oct Eh ?!?!?!..
Some progression in BACX at last !!!..
Oct !!!.. Get real !!!.. 60 - 70 secondee's.. Oct.. Thats thats 4 weeks.. No training for replacement of said 60 - 70 secondee's.. mmmmmmmm.. Just cancel all those flights whilst we train some chaps.. I don't think so !!!!!!.. Even the Bafoons who manage BACX coulsn't get it that wrong !!!!!!.. Or could they ??????.. Nothing would surprise me..
2nd Sep 2003, 18:31
"..prority goes to retired members.."
That's the whole point! As soon as it looks like the company is going belly up 100's of guys will make sure they are in the retired section rather than the unprotected workers section of NAPS.
3rd Sep 2003, 06:08
'priority' isn't the same as 'everything', however if you are determined to put your scheme into action I'm sure it has a high chance of giving you what you want rather than what you deserve
With predictions like 95% vote for a strike and 100s retiring with sudden deafness immediately perhaps I'm taking your flippant comments too seriously ?
In my opionion this attitude gives your fellow professionals (working hard to fill your pension fund) a bad name
<<All funds currently have a substantial deficit >>
Those in NAPS do, but currently those in APS are in surplus.
<<the trustees can distribute funds any way they see fit>>
I don't believe that statement is correct. Pension legislation lays down how benefits are to be distributed in the event of a scheme being 'wound up'. (As would be the case when a company becomes bankrupt when the pension scheme is in deficit)
The broad priority of distribution of funds is in this order:
a) Those currently in receipt of a pension.
c) Deferred pensions.
d) Current serving staff
Any trustees who took it upon themselves to distribute pension scheme funds in an inappropriate manner could find themselves personally liable in any subsequent court action.
<<If I had a pound every time I'd read that on pprune then I'd be retiring too>>
Have to agree with you there.
4th Sep 2003, 05:41
I don't know anything about NAPS or APS, I presume these are the BA funds ?
you're right to pick me up on 'anyway they see fit' - I lapsed into flippant comment myself, I think your order is correct, though I don't think each category has to be fully satisfied in order - i.e. trustees could split 80% a), 10% b) and 5% c) & d) if they decide that would be best, not exactly any way.
Worrying times for anyone who would like to retire one day!
APS is the 'Airways Pension Scheme' which has been closed to new members for a couple of decades. NAPS is the 'New Airways Pension Scheme' which has recently been closed to new members.
The majority of serving BA staff are members of NAPS which is seriously in deficit. There are still a significant number of serving BA staff who are members of APS which is, as I say, in surplus. APS is a 'mature' scheme under the legislation.
I believe the order of asset disposal I quoted is correct although there will, as you say, be some discretion given to the trustees on the detail of asset disposal.
I found my information from the 'Pensions Ombudsman' who were very efficient in answering my queries by e-mail. I am a 'deferred' pensioner with a great interest in the financial standing of the APS scheme.
Worrying times indeed for all potential 'retirees'. The survival of BA is particularly important to those in NAPS, but for those in APS BA's survival is a very important piece of security.
I'm very thankful that BA's proposed merger of APS and NAPS was blocked in the High Court.
8th Sep 2003, 23:04
The other day I dropped some friends off to get a BA flight to Tel Aviv only for them to find that the flight had been cancelled due a shortage of pilots to operate the flight!
All pax were given a letter explaining the situation and I reproduce it for you:
Date 6th Septmeber 2003
Please accept my sincere appologies for the delay you have experienced, unfortunately we have a shortage of Flight Crew to operate your flight this evening.
The new departure time will be 11am on Sunday 7th September 2003 (the next day)...
...I do not under estemate the inconvenience and frustration caused and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and understanding.
Customer Service Duty Manager
None of the passengers were offered compensation of any kind or even put up in a hotel over night!
Just what is going on at BA then? It's offering unpaid leave to some, but unable to operate all its flights because it doesn't have enough crews?
And so much for "British Airways will look after you when things go wrong, unlike the low cost out fits!" In this situation they were not treated any better - simply told to turn the next day again!
For those who aspire to join BA's ranks as pilots then this must show that the BA are desperate for pilots - good news! But worrying how hypocritical it is about passenger service.
10th Sep 2003, 17:47
There are a couple of possible explanations for this.
It is quite likely to be a shortage of cabin crew rather than pilots, and some of the junior managers in customer services don't know enough about airlines to differentiate between 'Flight Deck Crew' (i.e. Pilots/Flt. Engineers) and 'Cabin Crew'. It is not a huge mental leap to believe that someone could see the expression 'Flight Crew' as meaning any crew who work on board an Aircraft whilst it is flying. So not necessarily a shortage of Pilots IMHO. Expect to keep waiting for BA to begin pilot recruitment.
Now, whichever side of the locked flight deck door the shortage lay (and from where I sit there is a shortage of staff both sides), the difficulty that BA has is that is still has to achieve the MPE (Manpower Equivalent) reductions it promised the city in its BRS (Business Response Scheme) following FSS (Future Size and Shape).
Unfortunately, they still need to cut more staff but seem to be doing it from frontline staff rather than the mountain of beancounters and other 'less productive' staff in Waterworld etc. Additionally, a lot of the cabin crew and check-in staff who took unpaid leave a year or more ago are failing to return having found something else to do in the meantime.
The final complication regarding any imminent pilot recruitment is that it opens up a whole can of worms with respect to the closure of NAPS and the existing pilots recognising that if we accept its clousre to new entrant pilots then we probably won't even collect our own pensions when the time comes (i.e. it will be wound up completely). There are currently still lots of Cadets who were recruited before NAPS was closed to new entrants coming on line at the moment but it won't be long before the shortage of pilots becomes acute though, as all fleets are complaining of being badly underestablished at the moment with the CAP is very high on bidline fleets and SHAG pilots permenantly shagged out.
As to why they are continuing to offer pilots unpaid leave, I simply cannot imagine. BA is a bizzare place to work!
On balance the above cancellation is more likely to be a CC shortage than a pilot one. CC have high sickness levels at the moment as the company is currently denying them leave (to which they are contractually entitled) due to the acute shortage, so the only way they can get a day off for something important is to go sick, thus exacerbating the problem. Catch 22 n'est pas?
11th Sep 2003, 19:29
Thanks for the reply Nearly N. The pax were given a verbal exlpanation with the the letter that they all recieved that it was actually down to the First Officer not being available. Either way it doesn't matter. The end to this story is that the all passenger checked in for their flight the next day, which departed an hour and a half late because of cabin crerw shortages!
BA's reputation precedes it at the moment, but it doesn't appear to be doing much to keep it up really. So much for achieving cost cuts if that damages their reputation in the eyes of the travelling public - the life blood of their bussiness! I hope BA pull through their troubles as it is in everybodies interest, both in BA and out!
11th Sep 2003, 21:27
Ah... erm.... What can I say?
I hang my head in shame almost every working day at the shambles going on around me. There is nothing we can do about it as pilots except to fly as safely as possible and do what we can to 'recover' the customer service situation with suitable words on the PA. The trouble is, it becomes increasingly hard to sound sincere when continually apologizing for the the imcompetence of others.
I am deeply sorry that your friends suffered such a delay and appauled that they were not compensated in any way.
To go back to the statements about the order in which funds are dished out in the event of a scheme being wound up and the statement about which funds are in surplus.
I think you will find that if a scheme is wound up, the available funds are used to buy 'secure' low return investments (like annuities) instead of actively managed higher risk higher return stock market style investments. There have been a couple of cases where fully funded schemes have been wound up due to companies going bust, where once the 'annuities' have been purchased for retired or higher priority cases there has been nothing left for serving staff.
There would appear to be a lot of sense in 'at the first sign of your employer going belly up, get out and put in a stake for your part of the pension pot'