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Old 30th Sep 2017, 02:39   #1 (permalink)

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AVIANCA Pilots On Strike

Does anyone know why they are on strike?
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Old 5th Oct 2017, 17:06   #2 (permalink)
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They make less than the Vietnamese pilots flying the ATR's and their T&C's are really bad.

That's all..., just them being unreasonable and trying to get better conditions on an environment where the company is expanding and making record profits.

The bastards think they should get paid better than regional wages to fly 787's in today's market. How dare they?
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Old 6th Oct 2017, 18:46   #3 (permalink)

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One of the Avianca pilots union (over half of the total pilots) are looking for pay parity with other Avianca divisions such as Avianca Brazil together with improved conditions. They are looking for a 60% increase in salaries. 700 pilots are involved.

The national press published salary ranges which suggested that Avianca pilots were better paid than other local airlines such as Copa (Colombia) and Vivacolombia. The information seemed misleading to me as the other airlines only have 320s and 737s whereas of course Avianca has much larger aircraft such as the 330s and 787s which should have explained the higher numbers.

Local salaries in Colombia are low. The minimum wage (which over half the population earns or earns less than) is $250 a month. Doctors here earn $1,000 a month. In comparison with those numbers the pilot salaries are high (say up to $5k) but obviously are very low by international standards.

Avianca is wanting the strike deemed illegal so that it can fire pilots and replace them with international ones. They already have approval to hire a limited number of non local pilots, however that would hardly seem a cheap solution. They say they have 1800 applicants which again amazes me given the shortage of pilots globally.

The Union has made various suggestions including setting up a low cost airline. That seems unlikely to me.

Avianca are cancelling about half of their flights each day and are limiting new bookings to consolidate flights. They say they are losing about $2 million a day.

Given the amount -in local terms pilots make - thereís not a huge wave of public sympathy. The government has pushed the two parties into arbitration but for me that weighs the dice against the pilots. The government has NO interest in having groups of workers demanding international parity on wages. The country, which is only just coming off the back of some significant inflation created by the fall of oil and the resulting devaluation of the peso canít afford it.

Avianca pilots, like others in the country earn their wages. The weather can be changeable, there are plenty of high altitude airports and some approaches are challenging. The last offer from the company was around a 12% increase but that was pulled in hours when it was not immediately accepted.

Iíve heard no suggestion that other Avianca workers are supporting the pilots or that any planned action will take place when the first of the new hire international pilots arrive at the beginning of November.
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Old 7th Oct 2017, 13:07   #4 (permalink)
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Kinda interesting:

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Old 8th Oct 2017, 12:54   #5 (permalink)

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The strike how now been declared illegal. That isnít likely to change things much from the strike point of view but it does give Avianca a freer hand - for example firing the strikers.

The basis for it being illegal is that the airline and the flights are critical to the national economy. Thereís a fair amount of truth to that. Although the distance from say Medellin to Bogota is less than 160 miles (and therefore a half hour flight) the terrain results in it being a dozen hours by car.
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Old 9th Oct 2017, 13:21   #6 (permalink)

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Latest update is that yesterday Avianca used a A340-500 from Hi-fly (Portugal) on flight Av027 from Madrid to Bogota. The flight crew (both in the cockpit and in the back) was a mix of Hi-fly and Avianca although predominantly the former.
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Old 11th Oct 2017, 09:47   #7 (permalink)
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"In the back" they can be Qualified crew (Supranumeraries) acting mainly as client "Representatives", mainly due to language issues to permit better communication with the Pax. They can also efectively be Cabin Crew on the flight, but before that, HiFly would have to provide this crew some training, and then the HiFly local authority would allow them to act as crew. Not much training would be needed as they are experienced on a similar type (A330), but still, believe some training would have to be provided before they would be allow to act as Cabin Crew. Done mainly in the case of slight longer contracts (1 month or more). Saves quite some money to the client, on this case Avianca.

"In the front", believe that without an EASA "ticket" there is no way around it.

Sorry for the thread creep ...
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Old 11th Oct 2017, 14:29   #8 (permalink)

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Another update. Local ATC staff have started to work to rule in support of the pilots. From what I could see there has been an increase in delays, but then again this is rainy season in much of the country so it is difficult to be sure of the root cause.

Talk that some striking pilots (around 70 - so 10%) returned to work yesterday.
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