A recent BBC article highlighted how the havoc wrecked on the aviation industry has affected a huge number of pilots. Many of these pilots are left without work and with no option but to retrain entirely, which for some means leaving behind an enjoyable career spanning a number of decades. It is estimated that as a direct result of the pandemic there are approximately 10,000 unemployed commercial pilots in Europe, of which around 1,600 are based here in the UK.
As a firm we are familiar with the unenviable position that many pilots are finding themselves in, as in Spring 2020 we assisted a number of international long haul Boeing 747 jumbo jet pilots from a major commercial airline in navigating the restructuring and redundancy process and helping them to obtain a good settlement with their employer. We were approached by the airline to be nominated as one of their preferred providers of independent legal advice for the those pilots and advised them on the terms of a bespoke, enhanced retirement policy offered to them as part of a settlement agreement, to help them adjust to working life without flying. We advised further on the surrounding issues such as age discrimination, their redundancy rights and their position should the airline find itself insolvent.
For many pilots the future is looking uncertain and they are faced with many options, from retaining and transferring their skills, taking a sabbatical whilst waiting for the air travel industry to return closer to pre-pandemic levels, or taking an early retirement. The only guarantee if they are facing redundancy is that it is vital to ensure they negotiate the best settlement they can and the Employment team here would be happy to assist in doing so.