IALPA say jobs at serious risk as Irish Aviation Authority impose endorsements on pilots’ licenses
The IALPA branch of IMPACT trade union, which represents pilots, has expressed concerns that the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is putting jobs at risk by placing medical endorsements on pilots’ licenses which are up for renewal.
The situation arose as the IAA, which is the regulatory body for Irish aviation, began to impose the endorsements in respect of earlier medical conditions (for example childhood medical conditions) which would not have appeared in the most recent medical screening for the pilots involved.
IALPA said that this new practice was introduced without prior warning or any consultation with pilots’ representatives. The branch has written to transport minister Noel Dempsey to express concerns about unnecessary delays in having the matter resolved.
In a letter to the IAA in March, Vice President of IALPA, Captain Simon Croghan, told the IAA that at least three pilots have said that the endorsement will lead to the loss of their employment. He added, “In two cases the pilots have stated that the mere existence of such a note (endorsement) is automatically disqualifying.”
He said that any pilot who applies for validation in many European and other jurisdictions is at very high risk of having their validation refused or revoked ‘without discussion or appeal’.
Captain Croghan said that while IALPA accepts that the problem applies only to a particular group of pilots, and that it is likely to be viewed as an entirely administrative matter for the IAA, it would have a very serious effect on their careers and future employability.
Despite attempts to meet with the regulator to resolve the issue, the IAA has delayed any discussion by several weeks. No formal communication has been returned to IALPA, but informal contact suggests a delay of beyond three weeks before any discussion can take place.
IALPA has advised members through a statement on its website that until the matter is resolved they should consider renewing their licenses in another jurisdiction, such as the UK. IALPA explained that once a renewal application is submitted, a pilot cannot cancel the application and then apply elsewhere, and they remain subject to whatever local bureaucracy applies. Captain Croghan explained, “We felt obliged to issue a public notification to pilots so that they have an opportunity to make alternative licensing arrangements”.
Captain Evan Cullen, president of IALPA, added “The lack of consultation is deeply regrettable, and betrays what we have long felt about the IAA. It is mired in a bizarre form of institutional arrogance which you do not find in any other European country.
“There is palpable anger among our members about the manner in which the IAA have chosen to do their business on this matter. There has been no consultation. Instead there have been quite feeble excuses for delays when we have sought to meet with the IAA to try and sort this out” he said.
Captain Cullen added, “It has long been the case that the IAA is one of the very few public bodies which is not subject to the oversight of the Ombudsman. In the light of this ridiculous situation, a review of that arrangement is overdue.”
For further information please contact:
Captain Simon Croghan, Vice President, IALPA – 087 751 2147