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Setting the agenda for pilots

by Brendan O'Neal BALPA Chairman

It is easy to overlook the importance of BALPA’s Annual Delegate Conference. But if you understand the organisation, how it is run and what it stands for, it soon becomes clear just how important this two-day event is. 

BALPA is the voice of pilots in the aviation industry. And what gives it authority and authenticity is that BALPA is run by pilots for pilots. ADC is a time for pilots from across the industry to gather, network, exchange experiences, to gauge the general feeling within the pilot community and to set the agenda for UK pilots for the year to come. 

Delegates at the conference include representatives of all company councils and BALPA’s national executive composed of elected pilots as well as BALPA staff. 

While part of the ADC is of course about housekeeping within the organisation, (ensuring BALPA is run in an efficient, legal and responsible manner) a large and important part of the event is dedicated to generating policy and association strategy. 

At ADC pilots put the issues that are affecting UK flight crew under a microscope. We determine what is important for British pilots in the current climate, work out what BALPA’s priorities will be for the next year and define how we can push forward in those areas. 

And this year the conference came at a time when feelings are running high in the industry.  We’ve seen pilots pushed to strike for the first time in more than 40 years, the collapse of Monarch Airlines and employment models within aviation come under scrutiny after delays and cancellations experienced this summer. 

At the same-time we are just beginning to understand how the implementation of EASA FTLs are affecting pilots and there’s huge uncertainly about what Brexit will mean for aviation. That’s why it’s more important than ever that BALPA is there to be the unified voice of pilots. 

At ADC pilots set BALPA’s agenda for the next year so that as an organisation we can continue to be the voice of UK pilots, pushing for the best standards in employment and safety across the industry.