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Will demographics kill IR?

Old 8th Apr 2017, 05:56
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Will demographics kill IR (Industrial relations)

'At the risk of being labelled a pilot-shortage-sceptic, I believe that, before any genuine widespread pilot shortage develops in Australia, various levers remain to be pulled by governments and employers to stave off any such shortage especially in a country such as Australia, which remains an attractive destination for many overseas qualified and experienced professionals. '


Almost written by Qantas IR that statement, but there are increasingly evident signs that aging workforces are killing the notion that Australia can be viewed in myopic isolation.
  • Exactly what levers can an airline like Qantas pull?
  • Does it matter?
  • Can one watch CASA to see the levers (ie JC and VH registration)


Globalised supply applies to Australian pilot conditions too. Gutting GA in this country, providing lesser returns to pilots who committed huge sums of money and time to gain requisite experience, be it through GA or self funded cadet programs resulted in career paths that were stagnant to non existent with the only hope being that of advancement. IR laughed all the way to the bank as Qantas lost a decade and now JQ looks like it will too.Has the table turned, should pilots simply accept downwards pressure on terms and conditions?

Should Oldmeadow consulting be taken to the woodshed?

Last edited by Tuck Mach; 9th Apr 2017 at 01:26.
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Old 8th Apr 2017, 06:15
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Will demographics kill IR?
No. They'll still need an Instrument Rating!
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Old 8th Apr 2017, 06:37
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TM, where was the statement you posted originally published? From what I am reading about the U.S pilot shortage, it is very real and concerning for the airlines and the military.
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Old 9th Apr 2017, 00:58
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Workplace demographics are profoundly changing.
The Australian Treasury released a paper, 32 pages in total that shows graphically the wave of retirements.


https://demographics.treasury.gov.au...challenges.pdf

Lookleft, the paragraph was written by a former AIPA union president. What strikes me as amazing is that pilot unions do not read these government reports and look at top down macro reality before expressing subjective opinions. In effect union representation is largely confined to responding to company (IR) started brush fires, ignoring economic reality. The statement went on to say;

'While AIPA has previously fought very successfully against the use of 457 Visa programs for pilots and always will, there is no guarantee such schemes will never be exploited. Another option available to airlines is to simply lower entry requirements – whether in respect of flying experience or other assessment criteria. One large Middle-Eastern lowered its entry requirements recently to meet pilot requirements.
Finally, the implementation of programs such as the Multi-Crew Pilot Licence (MPL), which has been given the imprimatur of bodies such as IATA and ICAO, potentially combined with traditional airline pilot cadet schemes, has the potential of supplying a steady stream of new airline pilots at the legal standard required'

In isolation, the statements seem reasonable, but they are terribly myopic.
Pilot supply is global. Whilst Australia may be a better place to live than many, at some point airlines will protect a strategic asset (yes that is a pilot) and offer attractive terms and conditions, commuting contracts and the like if their incremental steps do not attract sufficiently qualified applicants. To also be fair the author did state there are better ways to treat pilots to retain them and that is to offer more generous terms and conditions.

That is the point of this post, IR driving Qantas policy, HR capture of recruiting and an airline the shell of itself, with stagnant careers, Orwellian management and banal uniform policies has had its day.

My former colleagues myself included watched as management went crazy hoping for the birth of a modern IR trojan horse (JQ), sadly with many models the theory never lit off in practice.

Thus given;

  • EK need 800 pilots next FY
  • Qantas have at least 300+ training moves and continued recruitment to address a demographic shortfall
  • Numerous carriers in the Asian region offering increasingly attractive remuneration packages
  • A demographic problem growing in size
Can an airline like Qantas continue to allow IR driven crap of divide and conquer? My suspicion is yes as the corporation is captured by HR/IR control. Flight operations collectively left their self respect at the door when taking the corner office and myopic union management has made it all the easier. It however will contact with global supply reality in the nearer future than HR want.


I have been flamed before, and as the union president implied "Australia is somehow different" but is it?


  • CASA licence issuance at historic lows
  • RAAF applications ordinarily totalling 3,000 per annum lagging at circa 25%

https://www.pilotcareernews.com/trut...ilot-shortage/




Airlines Scrambling to Prevent Pilot Shortage | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth


Pilots say shortages causing cancellations | Stuff.co.nz


The Coming U.S. Pilot Shortage Is Real | Commercial Aviation content from Aviation Week


It will be interesting to see how a dinosaur Chairman and petulant CEO address a new paradigm when every waking moment of their time at the helm has been to denigrate and divide, aided and abetted by faceless IR 'practitioners'
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Old 9th Apr 2017, 02:12
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An interesting discussion for sure. The pilot market might be "global", but just as is true with the Aussie real estate market, there are markets within markets.

Eg, Sydney and Melbourne house markets are every differen to regional WA, which is also different to the Gold Coast market. By analogy, the world pilot market isn't one homogeneous blob that plays out identically in Asia or the USA to places like Australia. That seems to be the main point being made - along with pointing out that various options may be available to airlines/governments to limit the local effect of any shortage and that pilots relying on an Aussie pilot shortage might be relying on something that isn't so reliable? Maybe the imminent Aussie pilot shortage story that's been around forever won't be the answer to whatever problems we all have? Thought provoking anyway.

Even if Middel East and Chinese carriers offered even more, plenty of Aussie pilots would still not be the tempted.

At this stage the Qantas Recruitment thread on PPRuNe suggests plenty of canidiatee are still missing out for now.

Last edited by Tuner 2; 9th Apr 2017 at 02:23. Reason: Tuner 2
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Old 9th Apr 2017, 02:31
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Originally Posted by Tuner 2 View Post
An interesting discussion for sure. The pilot market might be "global", but just as is true with the Aussie real estate market, there are markets within markets.

Eg, Sydney and Melbourne house markets are every differen to regional WA, which is also different to the Gold Coast market. By analogy, the world pilot market isn't one homogeneous blob that plays out identically in Asia or the USA to places like Australia. That seems to be the main point being made - along with pointing out that various options may be available to airlines/governments to limit the local effect of any shortage and that pilots relying on an Aussie pilot shortage might be relying on something that isn't so reliable? Maybe the imminent Aussie pilot shortage story that's been around forever won't be the answer to whatever problems we all have? Thought provoking anyway.

Even if Middel East and Chinese carriers offered even more, plenty of Aussie pilots would still not be the tempted.

At this stage the Qantas Recruitment thread on PPRuNe suggests plenty of canidiatee are still missing out for now.
Property is fixed in a geographical market. Pilots (or any labor) can move at next to a whim in comparison. Terms and conditions are an important factor alongside remuneration.
Therefore the pilot market is only constrained by our perception of boundaries. We operate in a global industry. The fleets are relatively common in type and our skills and training are very much transferable.
Acute shortages will be regional and driven by supply and demand alongside terms and conditions.
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Old 9th Apr 2017, 02:47
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Originally Posted by t_cas View Post
Property is fixed in a geographical market. Pilots (or any labor) can move at next to a whim in comparison. Terms and conditions are an important factor alongside remuneration.
Therefore the pilot market is only constrained by our perception of boundaries. We operate in a global industry. The fleets are relatively common in type and our skills and training are very much transferable.
Acute shortages will be regional and driven by supply and demand alongside terms and conditions.
While property may be fixed, I think the analogy is still very relevant, as the location of the airlines is generally also fixed, apart from a still small number of overseas bases offered by a few airlines. The location of the airlines being generally fixed, as properties are fixed, means that location will will affect demand and prices/terms and conditions.

As I said above, the middle eastern and Chinese-based carriers could offer double what I get at home and I still wouldn't be interested. So,while the pilot market might be global, so long as a sufficed terms are offered in popular places like Australia, the shortage will be much less likely to play out at Australian carriers that remunerate sufficiently.

Or, if that's wrong, then wonderful and I can't wait for this global shortage that's been decades in the marking to provide huge improvements to my QF LH terms.
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Old 9th Apr 2017, 03:03
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One of the interesting things in this mix is the size of modern aircraft. In the early 70s there was a glut of pilots as the wide bodies arrived. In longhaul a B747 could replace 2.5 B707s and the same occurred domestically when the A300 and B767s replaced the B727.

For the last 15 years or so,we have watched as the B777, A330 and 787 etc replaced the B747. I'm not including the A380 in this discussion because to a fair degree its an aberration when looking at the numbers of B747,B777 etc produced and the A380 will on work on a limited number of routes with a very limited number of airlines. This is indicated by the fact that there appears to be no second hand market for A380s at present

Avionic improvements also feature in this which has enabled flexi tracking and reduced separation standards. Both of these items were impossible to this accuracy 20 years ago.

So my point is that in the case of future pilot numbers we cant use history to indicate where this is heading and a change in one part of the equation could change everything overnight. For example a rapid rise in fuel price could make aircraft on thinner routes uneconomic and we could see say the B737s on a 10 flights/day route replaced with a wide body 3 x/ day with the obvious employment implications.

Wunwing
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Old 9th Apr 2017, 03:17
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Thus given;

EK need 800 pilots next FY
Do you have a source for this assertion?

Pilot supply is global.
Not really. A 737 Captain in Australia cannot work in Europe without gaining an EASA licence, which takes a great deal of time and effort. This is a major barrier to the free movement of labour. I think designed to protect local jobs. I mean if foreign pilots can fly in to Europe safely on their foreign carrier why then can that same pilot not fly in Europe in a local aircraft? The answer is simple but the reason is nonsense.

If you want to talk about "global" I think of a web designer who can work from anywhere in the world with a good internet connection.
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Old 9th Apr 2017, 05:13
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The seniority system is also a major barrier to the free movement of labour. Many from this part of the world don't go because they know they can't realistically get back.
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Old 9th Apr 2017, 06:40
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Re -
"The only thing that'll cause a shortage in NZ/AUS is we let GA die and rather than come up with a local solution, allow the Airlines to import "skilled labor". There's not shortage of enthusiasm downunder, just a shortage of pathways to "experience".[/QUOTE]

And all too troo.....

Feds / Turnbull / Shorten / casa... where are U when the GA industry NEEDS a safe 'fostering' / evolvement to grow and supply the future airline pilots..??

Yeah I know..... 'Strict Liability' and 50,000 penalty units..... PLUS a series of 'volumes' containing legislation / rules / instructions...ALL of which COULD BE written within the size of a 'paperback' novel.....
(Did I mention FAA...NZ CAA...??))

Just a thought.......

What a complete WASTE..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No Cheers, Nope NONE at all.....
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Old 9th Apr 2017, 11:21
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While property may be fixed, I think the analogy is still very relevant, as the location of the airlines is generally also fixed, apart from a still small number of overseas bases offered by a few airlines.
I think this may be where the action is at if the global shortage starts to bite.
I have watched as Chinese carriers have gone from $17k a month to $24k a month and from two roster choices to nine in just a few short years. People like myself and Tuner 2 won't move even if it gets to $34k a month, but we might be tempted if we could earn more money, live in our home town, and sign a contract to do two out and back duties a month. If Tuner stayed in Sydney or Melbourne ( not sure where you live ) and signed up with Vietnam Airlines to do two return trips to Ho Chi Minh a month , or with China Southern to do two Shanghai returns a month, it would solve a problem for the Asian carrier and be quite a nice lifestyle for Tuner. If things get really tight in China or the US it could hit the Australian Airlines hard if these sort of contracts are offered.
It would work quite well, when Tuner gets off after his return trip to Asia I'll jump on and do the whole thing over again
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Old 9th Apr 2017, 21:01
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[QUOTE=Tuck Mach;9732949][COLOR=#202020][FONT=Arial] [I]'At the risk of being labelled a pilot-shortage-sceptic.../QUOTE]

Tuck Mach,

Thanks for posting the articles. As a jack leg student of the subject (and no expert by even the loosest definition), I try to read every article I can find.

So far, they all appear to repeat the same fuzzy theme: there's a "shortage", with that word lacking a consensus definition upon which all discussion participants can make their cases. Anecdotal info must be set aside.

While the situation in the USA may be somewhat different from other parts of the world, there appears to be a common issue regardless of geography: lack of hard, independent, objective data about supply & demand. There's no unbiased (lacking economic motivation) central clearinghouse for supply/demand data.

The issue is an incredibly complex puzzle with several moving parts. A static analysis is merely a snapshot and therefore inadequate over time. I'm not sure a dynamic analysis is even possible.

And at some point, in addition to unbiased or even anecdotal data, clairvoyance is required. The world is never far from the next black swan event which can turn the situation from scarcity to surfeit.

As for me, I remain a skeptic.
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Old 9th Apr 2017, 23:48
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There are so so many impediments to Australian pilots taking up foreign contracts, particularly in Asia and the middle east.

Simply raising the pay will not cut it for many of the reasons already outlined. Nevertheless this does all go favourably for Australian pilots because the money on offer is indeed continuing to rise which will always be a factor come EBA negotiating time.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 03:50
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The only thing that'll cause a shortage in NZ/AUS is we let GA die and rather than come up with a local solution, allow the Airlines to import "skilled labor". There's not shortage of enthusiasm downunder, just a shortage of pathways to "experience"
Firstly there was never any defined pathway in Australia. It has always been a crapshoot. Those with connections tending to get through the tougher parts quicker.

Secondly the issue of the way that endorsements are now viewed in isolation is a real problem. For example a company could fly SAABs, have a 1000 applications from ATR/Dash 8/EMB-120 endorsed pilots and still go to the government claiming there are no suitably qualified applicants.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 04:25
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Well given that most of Europe has little to no GA for new pilots to have a "pathway to experience' but European airlines fill the right hand seat with 250 hour pilots and they seem to cope with this system, why would the Australian government not accept that system here?
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 11:42
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I've always believed Airlines should have defined pathways for young Pilots similar to the military. Not a Cadetship as we see in Europe, but a path from Zero hours to MEIR Instructing, to T-Props (FO then Captn) and finally to Mainline.
That is exactly the point of the post. It will be a supply side issue that drives the change, but it will change.

A pathway for pilots restores respect for the role they play in an airline, gives the airline some supply chain advantages and undoes decades of abuse by airline management with an focus on labour unit cost at the expense of all else.

http://www.pc.gov.au/research/completed/ageing-australia/ageing-australia.pdf

Given the wave of retirements Australia's taxation system faces, 'entitlements' are under pressure, the economy lacks sufficient eco boom workers to replace the retired. Treasury, the ATO and the Productivity Commission all draw the same conclusions: Demographics are destiny. Every western economy faces a similar predicament and aviation, although subject to state limitation is not excluded.Airlines still in state control from Singapore to the Middle Eastern Three will find the regulators working with the government to source supply. No country is immune though, supply is global.

Generally, whilst the demographic issue was not evident as those majority of workers were nowhere near retirement, airline IR used the business cycle to drive down terms and conditions, holding out until the cycle has peaked before concluding a deal. The business cycle has about a 5 to 7 year reversal. There is substantial literature outlining airline IR practice.

Airline IR practitioners HOLD out for a cycle correction then drive through the agreement.
At Qantas that was evidenced with a long drawn out SH agreement taking years to settle, versus a hastily agreed to LH 787 deal. Does anyone stop to wonder why? (I may have my opinion on the appropriateness of the deal, but my point is the time taken to conclude the agreement) Other airlines do exactly the same thing, they all go to the same IATA conferences.

Demographics overwhelm the business cycle, they are a long term bet but they will drive forced change. It won't happen with little Alan and Dorothy the Dinosaur (Clifford) but Oldmeadow ought be taken out back

Last edited by Tuck Mach; 10th Apr 2017 at 12:00.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 13:58
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My UK airline puts 250ish hour cadet pilots into the RH seat of an A320 straight out of the Training Organisations. Obviously with mandatory defined supervisory route flying initially.
Previous years saw the same movement onto Trident, B737. B757/767 with no safety problems, and we don't employ Cruise Only co-pilots (Second Officers I think you call them), all are trained for two pilot ops.
Its the training that counts not the hours. The USA FAA 1500 hr min, which could be instructing in a Cessna 150, is probably inferior!!

Last edited by cessnapete; 13th Apr 2017 at 08:41.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 22:34
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The only demographic in play here is the spreadsheet loving, MBA waving, office dwellers. If they had any idea what they were doing, they may actually start running the airline from the front line back rather than the board room "down". IR wouldn't be an issue if they stopped trying to fvck everyone over for a bonus.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 22:51
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Every few years Air NZ tries to add pilot to the Skills Shortage List by sponsoring articles which claim commercial aviation is about to collapse through a lack of pilots.

One of the NZ aviation advocacy groups has documented their repeated failed attempts to "predict" a chronic shortage and claim that the ONLY resolution is to import skills rather than actually invest in the country's population.

Aus/NZ airlines: how about you put your money where your mouth is and fund the gap between 250 and 1500 hours then you wouldn't have this problem. Stop trying to get someone else to pay for it. It's the cost of doing business.
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