The CAPA World Aviation Summit in Berlin on 27-28 November 2018 will bring together representatives of airline management and pilot unions to debate the question: can aviation unions be a force for good?
A CAPA analysis published in Sep-2018 examined the growing imbalance between demand and the supply of new airline pilots. Global aviation has enjoyed strong traffic growth in recent years, implying that supply has been sufficient. However, this growth is tightening the supply of labour and the airline industry faces challenges in recruiting qualified pilots in the numbers needed to cope with future expansion.
Pilots are not the only labour group in the industry, but they are by far the most expensive and highly skilled. The looming shortage of pilots is strengthening their negotiating position. The discussion in Berlin will consider the challenge of servicing aviation's growth with an adequate supply of human resources.
It will also discuss whether unions have the industry's interests at heart, whether airlines are too focused on a wage race to the bottom, and whether unions can adapt to rapid change. Cost reduction remains a key priority for management, but this may be more difficult when skilled labour is in short supply.