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Seniority

Old 13th Apr 2020, 00:35
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Seniority

In the post Covid-19 environment there will more than likely be a significant reduction in airline pilot numbers. Thousands of aircrew are currently stood down without pay, no doubt pondering where their seat will be when the music stops. Ideally for those pilots lucky enough to have a company to go back to, the redeployment criteria should follow in order of seniority. At least across individual fleets.

In the past I have seen highly experienced, and more senior crew cast aside in the name of the “greater good”. At the same time I witnessed the ugly side of self preservation as one group turned on another.

The rules of the government’s Jobkeeper scheme regarding returning to duty specifies a reasonable test for employees brought back to work against those who are still stood down. The scope of this test isn’t meant to sort out a post lockdown employment structure, but it’s probably a good place to look for the first signs of any irregularities.

In the meantime talk to your Union. In the coming months there is going to be enormous pressure from industry to have greater “flexibility” in the rehiring process.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 00:53
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NZ appears to be going down the Seniority path.

Closer to home, Virgin Group, not so much. The Tiger example in Feb pre Corona, of axing fleet specific Pilots (Airbus) vs The List, well it sort of outlines their intentions on this topic going forward.

Whatever works out cheaper for the company is how it will play out.

Cadets/SO are clearly at the bottom of many lists. However, with operators investing millions in these schemes, getting rid of them all makes no financial sense. They will probably be with the company for the next few decades. So if Jetstar and Virgin pull back a large majority of the widebody operation permanently, I don’t think your 3000 hour FO on the A320 or 737 will be affected. Investing millions in retraining 787 Pilots onto the Airbus, compared to just letting them go, and retraining nobody. Sad stuff, but further demonstrates that The List, is only good for Command upgrades.

Experience equals sweet FA.

There is probably going to be large consequences in terms of lack of Pilots from next decade onwards, as many will walk away, many take early retirements, many won’t even contemplate the industry, and the world starts booming again.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 01:16
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KRUSTY, your post in itself is showing an ugly side of self preservation. In these 'unprecedented' times, how about as pilots we look at thing a little differently?

Why don't those 55+ year old senior captains give up the 40ft retirement yacht and retire a couple of years early with plenty in property, super etc?

Those at the bottom of the seniority lists are the ones that will suffer the most in this crisis. Most have young families, fresh mortgages and started flying at a young age with little/no other skills.

I'm sure, for example, of the roughly 400 pilots at the bottom of the QF list (no, not all cadets), most of them left high seniority positions at domestic/regional carriers, some within the group...no one could have predicted this when they made the move to the 'safest job' in Australia. Their old positions have already been filled and there is not likely to be any work in aviation in the next 3-5 years.

Maybe it's time for the top of the list to make some sacrifices for the bottom, instead of topping up their 7 figure defined benefit super.

I'm a firm beliver that seniority is the best/worst system, but we're all on the same team, let's not throw the bottom half under the bus.

Last edited by c173; 13th Apr 2020 at 02:09.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 01:25
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Originally Posted by c173 View Post
Maybe it's time for the top of the list to make some sacrifices for the bottom, instead of topping up their 7 figure defined benefit super.
You mean those on the gravy train should make a sacrifice for the junior pilots? Don't make me laugh!

They will argue they sacrificed enough in the EBA 10 vote.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 01:38
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Many of us near the twilight of our careers are not on defined benefit, we are looking at substantial losses in our super accounts right now coupled with an almost certain loss of at least one year of income. We don’t have the time left to recoup whereas the younger, more junior have many years ahead of them to build their retirement nest egg. And no, I don’t have a 40 foot boat, no boat at all in fact.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 01:41
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As far as the Virgin Wide Body EBA is concerned it explicitly states that NO Narrowbody Pilot shall be displaced due to a reduction in the Widebody fleet. However if Virgin keep a Widebody fleet (assuming they survive keeping one of them, if any) then it states Pilots shall be made redundant in order of seniority regardless of fleet. That could be a source of conflict. This of course assumes Virgin continues in some form
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 02:03
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Originally Posted by c173 View Post
Maybe it's time for the top of the list to make some sacrifices for the bottom, instead of topping up their 7 figure defined benefit super.
The truth is seniority and last in first out worked in government run carriers with simplified fleet structures. In the harsh world of modern economics (accentuated by post Corona airline economics) it's unfeasible.
In most airlines I'd imagine the most senior pilots will gravitate toward widebody long haul aircraft. However in a post Corona world these aircraft will probably be needed the least. So if LIFO is to be followed you are then faced with a situation of retraining the most senior pilots onto the smaller fleets, and making the most junior pilots redundant. It'd be a huge expense and one that cash poor post covid airlines could hardly afford. There is already some legal precedence for redundancy outside of seniority. Most likely however pilots of fleets who aren't flying will just be stood down indefinitely. No expensive redundancy payout for the airlines, and then those pilots simply return to flying when there's work available or retire.

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Old 13th Apr 2020, 02:10
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Originally Posted by c173 View Post

I'm sure, for example, of the roughly 400 pilots at the bottom of the QF list (no, not all cadets), most of them left high seniority positions at domestic/regional carriers, some within the group...no one could have predicted this when they made the move to the 'safest job' in Australia. Their old positions have already been filled and there is not likely to be any work in aviation in the next 3-5 years.
I have to disagree with you on this point. There are inherent risks with leaving a senior position in one airline to go to the bottom of another seniority list. It was part of the decision making that lead me to stay put, as nice as the QF conditions may have been.

Coronavirus itself was unforseen, however downturns in the industry given its cyclical nature certainly are not.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 02:17
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Another factor to consider is mandatory retirement. Can’t speak for VA or JQ, but at QF, the number of pilots reaching 65 increases dramatically in a year or so, and remains between 75-100 per year for the next decade.

some LHers hitting 65 this year or next may have planned on bidding to the 737 this training year. Unfortunately for them, there is no ‘right’ just because you are 65. No vacancy, no slot. You have to retire as you can ‘no longer fulfil the requirements of the role. No CR payout.

this will affect quite a number I’m sure.

anyone who thinks redundancy (fingers crossed not needed anywhere!) will be done on last in first out is kidding themselves.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 02:46
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Remeber not all seniority systems are the same.

Some have protections against displacing other pilots, and some dont.

As much as I am affected by pilots who wont budge from the top, I have no grievance against them. Who knows, I may be in thier position one day and my own circumstances may also mean staying on for whatever reason.

This topic has been running in the Terms and Endearment board.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 02:46
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A very relevant scenario is Jetstar 787 pilots, most of whom will be in the top half of the seniority list, and many I would imagine towards the top of the list.

How does that work if the 787 is grounded or significantly clipped ? - I can't imagine a low cost operator looking forward to spending millions on re-training 787 pilots back on to the A320. Do they retrench redundant 787 pilots or from the bottom of the list?


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Old 13th Apr 2020, 02:46
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Everyone will eventually do, whatever is best for themselves. You can see that amongst the numerous threads all on the same repetitive topics that have been posted on here in recent weeks.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 02:48
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Originally Posted by c173 View Post
KRUSTY, your post in itself is showing an ugly side of self preservation. In these 'unprecedented' times, how about as pilots we look at thing a little differently?

Why don't those 55+ year old senior captains give up the 40ft retirement yacht and retire a couple of years early with plenty in property, super etc?

Those at the bottom of the seniority lists are the ones that will suffer the most in this crisis. Most have young families, fresh mortgages and started flying at a young age with little/no other skills.

I'm sure, for example, of the roughly 400 pilots at the bottom of the QF list (no, not all cadets), most of them left high seniority positions at domestic/regional carriers, some within the group...no one could have predicted this when they made the move to the 'safest job' in Australia. Their old positions have already been filled and there is not likely to be any work in aviation in the next 3-5 years.

Maybe it's time for the top of the list to make some sacrifices for the bottom, instead of topping up their 7 figure defined benefit super.

I'm a firm beliver that seniority is the best/worst system, but we're all on the same team, let's not throw the bottom half under the bus.
A very one eyed view of the situation. I read into that, you are low on the seniority list.
not all 55 plus have 40 foot retirement yatchs, not only young people have young kids and mortgages.
One thing the younger do have is plenty of time (working life) to make up for the short fall they may feel now.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 02:53
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Originally Posted by dr dre View Post
Most likely however pilots of fleets who aren't flying will just be stood down indefinitely.
You have hit the nail on the head on this one.

The chief pilot has said in a webinar that they will follow the RIN process "at an appropriate time". What that means is that you will stay stood down for as long as we need until training positions become available.

This was followed up by HR confirming that there is no time limit on how long they can stand you down for.

The company wont be following the RIN/redundancy process anytime soon because that will burn a lot of cash. And right now, cash is king.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 02:58
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Funny how people bag seniority systems, until the time comes for them to make use of it.
It’s all well and good saying the ‘oldies’ have had it good and should step aside for the young ones.
Will you think the same way in 20 years time when it’s your turn to step aside.
I think some of the more senior people will use this opportunity to leave, as so much has changed and will change.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 03:00
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Originally Posted by RENURPP View Post
A very one eyed view of the situation. I read into that, you are low on the seniority list.
not all 55 plus have 40 foot retirement yatchs, not only young people have young kids and mortgages.
One thing the younger do have is plenty of time (working life) to make up for the short fall they may feel now.
Absolutely I am, not here to hide it. My solution is not for everyone at the top, but there is a significant slice of the pie that can afford it.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 03:48
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Originally Posted by RENURPP View Post
A very one eyed view of the situation. I read into that, you are low on the seniority list.
not all 55 plus have 40 foot retirement yatchs, not only young people have young kids and mortgages.
One thing the younger do have is plenty of time (working life) to make up for the short fall they may feel now.
I'm neither young nor old. But I've heard that bolded statement thrown around a lot in the last few weeks, and it just doesn't sit right with me.
Some of the Younger Pilots (or more correctly, Junior Seniority) are looking at losing their entire Careers here. There is no making up for that in most cases and many are looking at having to sell their homes during a Recession.

For example, losing the last year of your career is a lot less impactful than losing your entire career in your mid-late 30's. Retraining and climbing the ladder in another industry while feeding your kids and paying a mortgage is no simple task.

I'm not going to claim to know how super works in OZ, but in NZ you aren't forced to withdraw it all the day you turn 65. You can wait for the Markets to recover. If a Pilot needs to withdraw their entire super the day they turn 65 then I'm afraid to say, COVID is the least of your problems.

My Parents as an example, put a portion of their Retirement savings into "Cash" 2 years prior to retiring when the Market were up. My Fathers reasoning was to ensure they were less vulnerable to a market crash. I don't believe they touched their actual super until around age 70.
Given most Pilots are "reasonably intelligent" I would assume many approaching Retirement have done some forward financial planning and diversified their profiles to reduce the risk of crashing markets at Retirement.

That's not to say Life hasn't happened to some of you along the way. Seniority doesn't always equate financial security so no one should be told to bugger off just because of their age. Likewise, there are also some very wealthy and secure Junior Pilots.
But the notion that a "younger" Pilot losing their Job has a better chance of revery than a Senior one is, in most cases, false. And lets not get started on the cost of housing for various generations on the Seniority lists.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 03:49
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JQ will not be able to off load the 787 for a very long time anyway, there is no indication they want to off load all of them also. The 787 crews will be stood down for as long as it takes unfortunately, just like QF and VA international crews. I also can not see JQ training those guys back to the 320 finances available post COVID-19 will not be there. JQ will fire back up by base not seniority as this will be the cheapest for the business. I can’t find anything in the EBA to indicate flying is dished out by your number on the list, if you’re in ML or SY your return will be quicker bases like PH, NTL and AVV will almost be last to get going. I personally think a base restructure will occur NTL and maybe PH will be lucky to be around, we already can crew PH from SY or ML we have been doing it for 2 yrs already.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 03:53
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Originally Posted by normanton View Post
You mean those on the gravy train should make a sacrifice for the junior pilots? Don't make me laugh!

They will argue they sacrificed enough in the EBA 10 vote.
why should they? they didn’t create coved 19. Just sayin’
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 04:33
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Originally Posted by SandyPalms View Post
why should they? they didn’t create coved 19. Just sayin’
I'm not "sayin" they should. What I am "sayin" is that there is a better chance of the gravy train drivers retiring early than there is a Trump press conference passing the Trump fact checker.
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