BALPA claims first-round victory in Ryanair 'blacklisting' battle
January 19, 2021
The British Airline Pilots Association is claiming an initial victory following a preliminary employment tribunal hearing into accusations that Ryanair retaliated against flightcrew involved in strikes. There will now be a full hearing, says the UK pilot union, after Ryanair met rejection with its technical legal submissions that the relevant legislation did not apply in this case. The action is being bought by 29 BALPA members, who say their staff travel benefits were removed in retaliation for striking.BALPA argues that under the Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010, workers must not be subjected to any detriment for taking part in trade-union activities, making the threatened and actual removal of travel benefits unlawful. "This is a landmark legal decision, the effects of which go beyond Ryanair and the airline industry to the trade-union movement as a whole," states the union's general secretary Brian Strutton. "In particular, by ruling that the claimants were taking part in trade-union activities by going on strike, the tribunal has fired a loud warning shot across the bows of employers who try to punish employees for striking by subjecting them to detrimental treatment." Ryanair has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Canada details Max modifications needed for service return
January 19, 2021
Canadian authorities have detailed the modifications required for operators to return Boeing 737 Max jets to service from 20 January. While the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has previously issued airworthiness requirements for the type, Transport Canada states that it has “gone even farther” by adopting its own directive and adding “unique” measures to improve safety. The regulator is mandating the Boeing service bulletin requiring updates to correct the flawed Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System software – which contributed to the loss of two 737 Max jets and the subsequent grounding of the type – as well as adjustments to certain wiring, and the inclusion of angle-of-attack ‘disagree’ alerts. These ‘disagree’ alerts will not feature on the head-up display system until a software revision is introduced later this year, and Transport Canada is adding an operational procedure to the Max flight manual to advise crews during unreliable airspeed events. Transport Canada says its test pilots found that, after activation of the stick-shaker, the “constant noise and vibration” was a “significant impediment” to the safe operation of the jet. Its directive requires that the pilots are able to de-activate a nuisance stick-shaker, and the fitting of coloured circuit-breaker caps to assist with identifying the relevant ones. Transport Canada also plans to deviate from the FAA’s requirements by including a change to the ‘altimeter disagree’ procedure, to include a step stating that the aircraft does not meet reduced vertical separation minima criteria and providing guidance to the crew. Canadian transport minister Omar Alghabra says the airline industry can “rest assured” that the authority has “diligently addressed all safety issues” ahead of allowing the resumption of 737 Max flights. The regulator states that it approved a revised pilot programme for three of the country’s carriers on 21 December, and these operators have since been training their crews accordingly. Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing Airlines are the only Canadian operators to have received the Max to date. Transport Canada says the carriers are implementing the necessary measures and “will be ready for the return to service of the aircraft in the coming days and weeks”.

Southwest and Delta step up for second round of payroll support
January 18, 2021
Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines have each agreed terms with the US Treasury department for a second round of payroll support programme funds. US carriers have access to additional payroll relief from the federal government under the Covid-19 relief bill signed into law in December. The legislation allocates $15 billion to US airlines for the payment of employee wages and benefits. Terms of this second round of payroll support resemble that of last spring's $25 billion payroll support programme under the CARES Act. Airlines accepting payroll support cannot conduct involuntary furloughs or reduce pay rates, and must reinstate workers who were furloughed after the initial PSP expired at the end of September. Payroll support comes in the form of both direct grants and loans, and also comes with a provision that airlines must offer warrants to the Treasury.
Southwest will be receiving $1.7 billion in payroll support, while Delta will get $2.9 billion. Neither Southwest nor Delta furloughed employees after the initial payroll support programme expired.


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