European Cockpit Association
The following is an outline of the history and function of IFALPA, clicking on any of the topics will take you directly to that section:
The European Cockpit Association was formed in 1991 as an autonomous group of National Flight Crew Associations, representing their members’ interests at European Union (EU) level. In May 1998 a constitutional change opened the door of ECA to pilots from the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries leading to Switzerland, Norway and Iceland becoming members. Currently ECA represents more than 31,000 pilots across Europe. The current ECA Constitution is structured to facilitate membership of pilot Associations whose Governments have indicated their desire to join the EU.
Important and far-reaching decisions are made in Brussels and pilots have to be able to influence them. ECA is the representative of the European Flight Crew community and actively participates in the decision making process on al issues concerning aviation.
ECA is first and foremost connected with aviation safety. This is best maintained with well-trained crews, along with harmonised regulations for employment conditions, flight crew licences, flight and duty time limitations and aircraft maintenance.
The advent of the single European market in aviation means that air transport is no longer a purely national domain and European policies are made in all areas of aviation including safety, employment conditions, Flight Crew Licensing, fair competition, Air Traffic Services and aircraft maintenance. ECA pursues this aim by active involvement with the organisations that regulate the European Air Transport Industry such as the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA), the newly formed European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Eurocontrol and the European Union institutions.
Tasks include monitoring legislative and policy documents and advising accordingly, preparing replies and opinions with a view to improving the quality of European regulations.
Information exchange between Member Associations
Many of the problems that individual Member Associations face are the same all over Europe. ECA facilitates Member Associations getting together and finding the best solution for these problems. Similar issues necessitate a common approach. The ECA office is used as a point where information from different flight crews is collected and studied. ECA conducts research on aviation related topics that is used by Member Associations during negotiations with their companies. ECA supports and assists its Member Associations in their industrial actions. They also organise meetings, seminars and press conferences to discuss pan- European industry and social related issues.
ECA General Assembly
The General Assembly meets once a year and at any extraordinary occasion at the request of the Board. It defines the principal objectives of the Association, which are then implemented by the Board. All Member Associations are represented and every Member Association holds as many votes as declared members.
Composed of one representative per country, the Board meets every month. Every Association is entitled to put issues on the agenda of the Board. The Board defines the strategies and objectives of ECA, as instructed by the general Assembly. The Board elects two Vice Chairmen and a Chairman from the Board Representatives.
As can be seen fromn the presentation on IFALPA there was perceived by both Associations to be a level of overlap between IFALPA and ECA . In order to prevent a duplication of representation by both parties in the usage of limited resources an agreement was signed between IFALPA and ECA at the IFALPA Conference in Stavanger, Norway in May 2002 defining the roles of the organisations relative to each other.
IFALPA and ECA mutually recognise and support the role of both organisations in safeguarding and promoting the interests of all airline flight crews, It is recognised that ECA is composed of legally constituted groups of professional cockpit crew members belonging to one or more states of the European Union (EU) or any European State which has committed to enter into an agreement with the European Community to adopt and/or are applying Community laws in the field of Civil Aviation. This letter of Understanding is referred to in the formal Co-operation Agreement and is intended to clarify the joint responsibilities of these two organisations in fulfilling this role and to delineate the separate responsibilities of IFALPA and the ECA in relation to certain aspects of Flight Crew representation in the European arena.
During the transitional phase until EASA is in operation, ECA and IFALPA will coordinate Flight Crew representation within the JAA.