View Full Version : Bonds for UPGRADES? And what if the airline GOES UNDER?

8th Apr 2001, 00:14
What's the general policy on bonds for upgrades? Say, for instance, you've been an FO on a jet for 4-5 years with the same company and are offered LHS conversion. What price is the training and how long is the amortisation period? Also, for any legal beagles out there, what is the legal position on outstanding bonds (of any type) if you happen to be working for a company that goes into receivership. Someone reckoned that an aggressive receiver is likely to come after the bondee for the outstanding amount as he/she is technically a debtor of the liquidated airline. Not nice at all.

8th Apr 2001, 00:38
I was still bonded with Debonair when they went under, as were many others. Not a word was heard from the receiver.

Given the questionable nature of the bond issue I think the ground would be far too shaky for a receiver to bother to pursue.

8th Apr 2001, 00:46
Bonds should be for effo's only, by the time you have been promoted to command the company should know all about you.

8th Apr 2001, 01:16
Ref.: Debonair, there was a clear sentence in the contract that the bond would become void the moment the company would declare bankruptcy or that the trainee would be made redundant....
That is what a "fair" contract should say, if someone finds a bond fair at all...

8th Apr 2001, 02:24

There have been 2 other threads on bonding in recent days. What is this, divide and conquer?


You asked about the legal position on outstanding bonds if one works for a company that goes into receivership. Just as Nightrider has said, most bonding agreements do have a clause or three that cover this eventuality. However, even if this were not the case, I do assure you that the receiver would be legally very ill advised to pursue pilots in such circumstances.

As to your question with regard to bonding for command upgrade, I am quite genuinely horrified to hear you speak of this. Are you suggesting that there are now employers out there who seek to do this? If so, I for one would be very pleased to see you name and shame them on this site.

8th Apr 2001, 02:47
I had a friend who was bonded to Nationair (a fair-sized Montreal charter carrier) and after they went belly-up, the receivers came after him...

He went to court on the matter and the case went to the receivers. He finally paid in the same ratio as the debtors, (10c on the dollar?) but pay he did. Probably bought a few more boxes of Cohibas for his ex-boss.

The Guvnor
8th Apr 2001, 12:15
I'm opposed to bonds for upgrades, unless it is apparent that the individual is simply 'collecting type ratings'.

A bond should only become payable in the event of breach of the terms by the employee - if the employer retrenches (makes redundant) the employee or goes under, the bond should not be payable.

8th Apr 2001, 13:13

There you go again, demonstrating your ignorance in matters aviation.

"I'm opposed to bonds for upgrades, unless it is apparent that the individual is simply 'collecting type ratings'", you said.

An upgrade is not 'collecting a type rating', old bean. An F/O already has the type rating and, if he/she held an ATPL at the time of issue of that rating, his/her licence would have had the rating placed in the 'P1' section. Thus, at the time of upgrade (to command), the airline merely trains and checks on the switch from right to left seat. Even if the rating was placed in the 'P2' section, the rating is still there and the upgrade merely requires a little more paperwork at the CAA to place it in the 'P1' section. So, one who is upgrading is certainly never guilty of 'collecting a type rating'.

And you seriously hope to run your own airline? Dream on, my son.

beaver eager
8th Apr 2001, 13:35
CityFlyer introduced a "Command Bond" a few years back to try and stem the outflow at the time (anything to avoid having to put the pay and conditions up).

Promotion was only a normal base check (with IR) but in the left hand seat and the bond was 3000 over a year which ran concurrently and additionally to any type conversion bond still outstanding (13000 over 3 years for ATR 42/72).

They abandoned this though when one of the newly promoted Captains (How are you getting on Pete?) gave his notice in the day he passed his final line check! The pay rise was so great (nearly 100%) that the extra pay he earned in the 12 weeks notice period, was still more than the outstanding "Command Bond".

The Management weren't impressed and abandoned this extra bond in favour of getting you to sign a "Gentleman's Agreement" that you would stay for a year after receiving your command training. This actually worked better, although they were a bit flexible when people had done most of their year and had a decent offer elsewhere.

It was accepted by the Management that this was nothing more than a "Gentleman's Agreement" and would not hold up in a court of law.

Keep it up!

8th Apr 2001, 14:00
Beaver Eager

Very interesting post indeed. Thank you.

As you say, the so-called "Gentleman's Agreement" would have no value whatsoever in a court of law. However, this leads one to look for the real reason behind its being brought into existence at all.

One is led to suspect that the real reason is in fact quite sinister. Is it possible that CityFlyer colludes with other carriers to, shall we say, 'blackball' those who fail to keep their so-called Gentleman's Agreement?

Further, do you think it is possible that some (informal) association of air carriers (you know, the same ones who get together to swap ideas like bonding and the like) actually keep a blacklist and use it to exclude the naughty boys who tell them what to do with their bonds and their Gentlemen's Agreements?

If you consider these things likely, then you may agree that this might just explain their 'flexibility' with regard to those who leave to 'take up a better offer'. The flexibility may well flow from agreements made between the same group of carriers referred to above. You know, along the lines of: "If you let Joe Bloggs go now we'll reciprocate at some time in the future".

I must say your tale of the mathematically gifted Captain resigning on the day of his final line check creased me up. The question is, is he still flying?

[This message has been edited by tilii (edited 08 April 2001).]

Agaricus bisporus
8th Apr 2001, 14:18
Is a bond ever enforceable in UK law?

Probably not.

Raw Data
8th Apr 2001, 15:30
Basically, yes it is. If you sign it, and no-one is holding a gun to your head, it's a contract just like any other.

The wider questions as to whether it is practically enforceable, or whether it will remain legal under EU law, are other other issues.

Many airlines actively pursue bond-breakers, usually successfully.

8th Apr 2001, 15:40

No need to be narrowminded on the Guv.

I believe he was referring to an individual who was upgrading from one type, say an ATR to another type, say an RJ, and moving to the LHS at the same time.

If such a scenairo is possible in Europe, then the pilot wouldn't be typed on the 2nd a/c.

The only reason I bring this up is because in the USA some ALPA contracts actually allow a type change every year, and if a pilot is senior enough to bid the newer a/c, sometimes the airline finds it cheaper to pay him at the higher rate of his bid awarded a/c instead of train him on it.

beaver eager
8th Apr 2001, 15:45

Yes I guess he's still flying, he was in his early twenties at the time, and went to Caledonian, (I think) on the A320, so I guess he's with JMC now.

It was well known in CFE that the "Chief Pilots' Network" was alive and well. Let's face it there's only about 20 British airlines at most, so not much networking effort needed there!

I believe that someone would have had to transgress significantly to actually get shafted big time. Mostly CFE just made it clear that you would be pursued if trying to avoid payment. A bigger problem was people wanting to leave before their 20 weeks notice period was up, when they had volunteered to increase their notice period to get improved pay and conditions (the Guy who went to Cally didn't choose the 20 weeks notice package). There was only one guy who tried to push the envelope on this one, and he was suggesting that the 20 weeks notice period was an unfair contract term (despite having signed it voluntarily). Anyway, this resulted in frantic activity on the Chief Pilots' network, and Midland, who had offered him the start date knowing (I think, although he may have misled them!) that he had a longer notice period, were not put off at all by his willingness to bend agreements made with a former employer.

Anyway, after a lot of toing and froing, CFE managed to talk Midland into giving him a later start date! CFE certainly weren't going to allow anyone to set the precedent of getting away with giving less than the 20 weeks notice. They say to the union officials that they would be flexible (around the edge of the envelope) in respect of shortening the 20 weeks notice period, should flexibility be required, but they have not actually exercised that flexibility to date!

On a more positive note though, one chap who failed his RJ conversion course TWICE (LHS ATR to LHS RJ100) was not hindered in any way via the Chief Pilots' network, and let go immediately with full pay for his 12 weeks notice period (he hadn't gone for the increased package either). He was already in the pool for a leading Charter carrier with a final salary pension scheme, and obviously given a reference that did not preclude his being taken on by them. There was definitely the opportunity for a stitch up there but it didn't happen. Kind of restores your faith a bit, doesn't it?

(If this comes up as a duplicate posting, It's because the first one didn't appear on my browser, despite the forum index suggesting that the latest post was at the time I made it. This is happening a lot to me lately, and p***ing me right off - If you know the answer to my problem can you please reply to my topic in Computer/Internet issues? Thanks.)

Keep it up!

beaver eager
8th Apr 2001, 15:52
Sorry Folks,

I can finally read my previous posting at the third attempt, now that it's generated another page. But I just can't make page one of this thread refresh to include the first two postings (or even the fact that it is now page one of two pages). The last post showing on page one is the one by Agaricus bisporus.
What the F*** is going on! HELP!

Edit - Now that it's all showing properly, I've deleted the first two of these duplicate posts to keep the thread looking a bit reasonable! It's all back on one page now and refreshing properly. I'd still like to know why my posts fail sometimes though!

[This message has been edited by beaver eager (edited 08 April 2001).]

8th Apr 2001, 18:28
Good Lord, Beaver Eager, 20 weeks notice period! I am quite flabbergasted to read of this. What a nightmare scenario that would be for someone who has made up his/her mind to leave. In some circumstances, three months notice can seem like an eternity. Twenty weeks is over the top, I suggest.

Of course I can see why an inferior employer might wish to impose such an unfair and unreasonable contract term, but once again I am left to ponder just what it is that possesses pilots to bring them to agree such terms. We are most certainly our own worst enemies if we accept this sort of grave impost.

So what comes next? I guess it will be the 'bank guarantee' system imposed at SIA, where pilots effectively pay the employer to give them a job. I can see all the beancounters laughing at us again as they stash the wads in their banks. Come on guys, wake up to yourselves before it's too late. Like you do with drugs (hopefully), just say "NO". If enough do it, there will be no loss in the long term, and the world just might be a better place for we pilots.

beaver eager
8th Apr 2001, 20:08
Well, I agreed to the extra 8 weeks notice period for lots of very good reasons, all of them financial.

When I was given my ATR command course date, this meant accepting the 'Gentleman's Agreement' to stay for another year (which, being a Gentleman - some may disagree on that - I was always keen to stick to, having entered into it of my own free will to get about an 80% pay rise).

At that point I knew I would be at CFE for the next five years, as I knew I would get an RJ100 command within the next 18 months which I definitely wanted (and which has since happened on schedule), and changing types would mean re-bonding for 15000 for another three years and I hate paying bonds back.

So I knew I was staying for another 5 years and the extra eight weeks notice gave you an extra 4000 p.a. as an ATR Captain, plus 8% company pension contributions instead of just 3%, plus BUPA, plus Loss of Licence Insurance. As I didn't want to leave, I thought it best to take what was on offer, be happy about it, and worry about how to leave when it became an issue. I learned a long time ago (whilst working as a mini-cab driver) not to anticipate problems - just deal with them as they arise, it makes for an easier life!

Anyway now BA seem to want to integrate us into EoG with another improvement in pay and conditions and everyone knows that Nigel's don't usually leave BA, so it looks as if I did the right thing in deferring the worry about how to leave. I seem to be coming up smelling of roses!

beaver eager
8th Apr 2001, 20:15
Bl**dy thing, I still can't read my last post!

Keep it up!

beaver eager
8th Apr 2001, 20:23
Now that's interesting,

It seems to refresh allright when I select the signature, but not when I omit it.

Funny old world innit?

Perhaps I need a more sensible signature that I can put on every post without sometimes looking like a strange person....

Keep it up!

8th Apr 2001, 20:52
My last company wanted to bond me for my first airline command.

I simply waited to the day before the course, then phoned in to say I wouldn't be signing up for it. Calling of bluff worked a treat, no more was said.

Don't think I'm going to be as lucky with an enforced base and type change coming soon!

8th Apr 2001, 22:06
"As to your question with regard to bonding for command upgrade, I am quite genuinely horrified to hear you speak of this. Are you suggesting that there are now employers out there who seek to do this? If so, I for one would be very pleased to see you name and shame them on this site."

Rumour has it there's a company which used to have an Irish subsidiary that tried this on recently. On their home turf they found that it was illegal but it might not be elsewhere.........

8th Apr 2001, 22:34
Just checked with a friend who makes his living as a company liquidator, (yes - sad isnt it), he informs me that he has not come across a case in the UK,in aviation or otherwise, where an employee would be pursued for bonding fees. He also believes that to do so may be contrary to UK and European law, quite apart from the fact that it would not be worth their time time to do so.
Hope this helps.

Raw Data
9th Apr 2001, 04:04
Sounds like your friend doesn't know much about aviation!

Read this:


The Guvnor
9th Apr 2001, 11:57
Good grief, Tilii - do you get a kick out of being an idiot? :rolleyes: DownIn3Greenhas it pretty much correct - I was referring to a situation where a pilot is jumping from one type to another in quick succession at his own request.

Incidentally, DownIn3Green unlike the US, over here you do get type rated even as an FO - one of the (few) ways in which the CAA/JAA system is better than the FAA one.

9th Apr 2001, 19:59
A retired pilots experiance of bonding.
It was Christmas eve 1973, my Dan air comet course (no bond) was cancelled on completion of the ARB and simulator, due they said to the Arab oil crisis and winter of discontent.
I was returned to their NC.based 748 fleet.
In Feb1974 I accepted a job offer with Gulf air on their F27.(no bond)
I was then called by Dan air to report for completion of the comet base training as the course was now on again.
I informed them I was about to resign.
This caused a Mr Atkins to telephone and inform me that if I resigned he would see to it that I would never work in uk aviation again,and I would not receive any more salery or any vacation money I might imagine I was owed.
I was then fired over the telephone,for electing the GF option.
A letter to the directors of Dan air explaining my treatment, and that I was also a shareholder in Dan air, and that I would put this lot in the Telegraph unless I got my money, produced a nice letter, from Mr Atkins secretary with all the money, and a nice reference, signed by Atkins.
I stayed with Gf for 26 years.No pension scheme.
They attempted a fundemental contract change with threats of sign or resign in 1976 but this was overturned by Sheik Isa, new hires were required to accept their new GF (N.1) contracts when joining, we pre August 1976 hires, remaining on the G contract.
I was never bonded on the F27 or the L1011. In 1989 I was offered a 767 conversion with a 3year bond, I signed as I was happy to secure a further three years work,
two minutes after signing I was presented with a further pretyped letter to also sign, this stated that "Out of gratitude to GF for the 767 course I agreed to give up the original G contact conditions" in effect since 1974.. This new N (around N mark 12 by now) contract was 10000.00pa IMHO worse.
It was explained to me that other G contract pilots had already signed this G away as they badly wanted the 767. I explained that with over 15 years service this was not really very nice treatment and that I intended to stay until 60years old, meanwhile I would have to stop flying the L1011 as I was quite upset, also that they would need a L1011 captain to operate in 5 hours time to India and for the next 4days.
After some back and forth between offices and no doubt pilot rostering, I was allowed to remain on the G contract, but warned this confrontational attitude (of mine) had been noted.
Thus rested, refreshed, and unstressed, I joyfully operated that night, taking 250 lives to India.
Pilots who signed away their G contracts already had Sia 747 ready jobs on condition they had boeing glass cockpit training and indeed one N contract pilot resigned on completion of his 767 command final line check, paying his bond with his government indemnity fund.
GF is today around 15 crews short for the summer season on the 767.and have mislaid or lost an Airbus 330 engine.
Bonding of pilots and engineers does not really seem to work. I feel a good pension scheme would do the job better.

We will do the drill according to the amendments to the amendments I er think?