Union Says Flybe Pilots Should Benefit From Government Job Scheme

The BALPA pilots union is calling for Flybe pilots to be recognized under the UK Government’s job retention scheme. So far, they have been excluded as they will not have a job to go back to once the current downturn has passed.

Flybe bankruptcy
Many Flybe employees lost their jobs overnight as a result of the airline’s bankruptcy. Photo: Getty

Pilots around the world are currently faced without work due to the current climate of the aviation industry. Passengers aren’t flying, therefore airlines are canceling flights. This combines to mean that flight crew aren’t required to operate the flights that aren’t flying. In the United Kingdom, there is a government scheme to help people in such a situation, however, Flybe workers aren’t included.

Job retention scheme

The aforementioned scheme put in place by the United Kingdom government is called a job retention scheme. This appears to be the key reason why Flybe’s former staff are exempted from the program. The purple carrier’s staff won’t be benefiting from retained jobs, as they have no job to return to when the current crisis is over.

Flybe was possibly the first carrier to directly feel the effects of the current crisis in the aviation industry. The airline was already really suffering. The current crisis, however, proved to be the final nail in the coffin, speeding up a somewhat inevitable outcome.

Flybe bankruptcy
Flybe’s staff aren’t covered by the government’s job retention scheme. Photo: Getty Images

BALPA’s view

BALPA is the main pilot’s union in the United Kingdom. The union represents pilots from a range of carriers including British Airways and Ryanair. In fact, the union was behind the British Airways pilot strike in late 2019. A number of Flybe’s former pilots are also represented by the union. As a result, the union is calling on the government to help its Flybe members.

Speaking about the matter, a BALPA spokesperson said:

“Loyal and dedicated Flybe pilots and other staff were all made redundant overnight with no notice and no consultation. It is great that the JRS is helping workers in many parts of the aviation industry, but sadly, Flybe pilots have already been made redundant, and therefore cannot access to this scheme. We believe the Government should widen the criteria to take account of workers like this who have lost their jobs and we have written to Treasury Ministers asking them to do so.”

BALPA, British Airways, Pilot Strike Cancelled
BALPA was behind the 2019 British Airways pilot strike. Photo: British Airways

Of course, it is incredibly unfortunate that Flybe folded when it did. When other major carriers have collapsed, remaining carriers have been quick to snap up the redundant employees. However, there is not that demand right now, as most airlines have stopped hiring. They can’t even make an argument for their current employees to come in. 

Do you think that Flybe workers should fall under the government’s job retention scheme? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.