|AMFA Locals and Members
Secretary of the Americas Update
July 17, 2020
I wanted to share with you how our colleagues in aviation maintenance around the world are dealing with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As the virus has spread and countries across the globe have closed their boarders to foreign travellers and domestic travel being severely reduced, we have seen commercial aviation come to a relative standstill compared to what it was previously.
This is not news to anyone working in the airline industry, and the impact has been profound; however, countries, and individual airlines within the same country, have responded differently, some greatly influencing their employees.
Our affiliates on the Board of AEI have shared how their respective employers have responded to the impact of COVID-19, running the full gamut from furloughs, reductions in work hours, reductions in hourly pay rates, grounding of fleet types, and even a job sharing scheme where the workforce was split into two groups each working half-time. The schedule is 2-weeks on, then 2-weeks off without pay while the other half of the group works their 2-weeks, thus everyone shared equally in the 50% reduction in income.
Each respective government responded with a different amount (if any) of supplemental wage support for the loss of income to employees. Some were quite generous while others provided little to no assistance. There is great disparity in wealth of our affiliate represented countries. One item relieving our affiliates is that almost all of the countries provide their citizens with state sponsored healthcare.
I share these perspectives with you as it reminds me that we, licensed aircraft maintenance technicians, face the same obstacles, challenges, and adversities, whether we're practicing our craft in Australia, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, the United States, or beyond. We are the, "Guardians of Air Safety" (from our Australian affiliate the ALAEA – Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association) and we are the ones who demonstrate, even under the most trying of circumstances that, "safety in the air, begins with quality maintenance on the ground."
As we too rapidly approach the end of the term of the CARES Act here in the United States, we are likewise seeing a broad spectrum of early-out and paid leave arrangements being promoted by our carriers creeping in and potentially creating negative outcomes. Please be sure to check in with yourselves and just know that you’re not in this alone âÂÂÂ”ÂÂÂ€ your peers around the world are facing the same concerns you’re dealing with here at home. We will eventually get through this, and when it turns around, I believe we’re going to see a rebound like none of us could presently anticipate.
AEI Secretary of the Americas