Bogus self-employment is preventing the good functioning of the European aviation market and impacting negatively the working conditions of aircrew.
This paper demonstrates that self-employment in commercial air transportation is unlikely to exist.
A commercial airline pilot cannot exercise his/her profession without the continuous supervision and monitoring by the operator, as required by EASA Regulations. The pilot does not have control over cost and pricing, neither owns the aircraft she/he flies or decides (how), when and where to fly. Such regulatory and organisational facts show a clear link of subordination and an absence of own risk for the pilots. This is incompatible with the status of self-employed no matter the formal arrangements organised by the carrier and or the intermediaries.
Self-employment creates an undue competitive advantage to airlines using this type of contracts. When tolerated by authorities it could constitute illegal state aid. (Bogus) selfemployment has an impact on crew’s social protection and on aviation safety. The liability of
self-employed pilots in case of accidents is also a concern.
The use of self-employment is an issue of European dimension that needs to be addressed urgently and jointly by the Member States and by the EU. The paper provides full analysis and supporting documentation on the issue, including best practices. Finally, ACP and ECA suggest some avenues to address the identified problems.