Air traffic is suffering: the number of passengers is eight percent compared to 2019, the year before the crisis. This was announced by the Federal Association of the German Air Transport Industry (BDL). An end to the crisis is not in sight.
This also further reduces the need for pilots. Lufthansa is now announcing a realignment of pilot training in the group.
“Put everything to the test”
“In the greatest crisis in global aviation, we in the Lufthansa Group have to put everything to the test – including our decades-old training concept for our pilots,” said Dr. Detlef Kayser, COO Lufthansa Group in the announcement.
Last autumn, the group put the pilot training of its European Flight Academy in Bremen on hold. In the medium term, the group informed its 700 flight students in November 2020 that there would be no jobs in the cockpits. A subsidiary of the group, Lufthansa Aviation Training (LAT), coordinates the training and further education of the flight personnel as well as its own European Flight Academy.
In an interview with NewsABC.net, Dirk Sturny, spokesman for the subsidiary Lufthansa Aviation Training (LAT), speaks of a “struggle for survival”. The LAT coordinates the entire training and further education of the flight personnel for the group as well as the European Flight Academy in Bremen. “That is neither nice for the flight situation nor for the colleagues,” says Sturny.
Pilot training in Bremen and Rostock in future
Despite the substantial crisis, Lufthansa wants to continue training its own pilots, says Sturny. The own security concept behind it has proven itself. Therefore it was decided to fundamentally modernize the training. Parts of the theoretical training, for example, should be able to be completed virtually in the future.
From 2023 Lufthansa plans to train its own pilots as part of a campus model. While the practical part of the training has so far taken place in Bremen and Goodyear (Arizona, USA), in the future the practical training will only take place at Rostock-Laage Airport. There was already a LAT training company here.
According to the plans, pilots will receive a uniform, internationally recognized qualification and, after completing their two-year training, will switch to one of the airlines in the Lufthansa Group. “When there will be a need for new pilots again, it is currently difficult to estimate,” says Dirk Sturny from LAT. “We hear from the flight operations that this will not be the case until 2025 at the earliest.”
While other airlines avail themselves of the free market to cover their needs for pilots, Lufthansa has been securing their needs from its own training since 1955. Pilots are accompanied “ab initio” from the start.
The cockpit pilots’ association calls it “concealing the facts”
In a statement, the cockpit pilots’ association sharply criticized Lufthansa’s announcement to modernize pilot training. This is a “targeted concealment of the complete closure of the traditional Bremen Aviation School, which is recognized for its high training standards” in the public eye.
In fact, together with the training reform internally in Bremen, LAT announced the “total closure” of the commercial aviation school “by mid-2022”. This became known through a press release by the cockpit pilots’ association, in which this internal letter dated February 17th is mentioned. Over 100 people then lose their jobs there. LAT spokesman Dirk Sturny confirms to NewsABC.net the report of the cockpit pilots’ association, but speaks of a “partial closure” in Bremen.
The Lufthansa collective agreement applies to the school in Bremen. The Rostock-Laage flight school, on the other hand, is detached from group collective agreements. There are “significantly worse” framework conditions, according to the message from the Cockpit Association.
“Facts created while politicians were inactive”
For those who are currently doing the training, the development intensifies the concern about their own professional prospects. “For me it was no longer a question of leaving Lufthansa,” says Martin N., who is still under contract with the group as a student pilot and does not want to give his name. “I want to continue to be a pilot and have applied to another airline that has taken me.” He will turn his back on Lufthansa.
Many still pilot students would have found Lufthansa’s news about the training reform to be mendacious, he says. “For us it was an open secret that Lufthansa would try to commit tariff evasion with Rostock. Now they have created facts while the politicians are inactive. ”
Some colleagues quickly found translations for the group’s press announcement. For example: “Future training based on the needs of the group while at the same time being completely ignorant of the needs of the employees”. There should be no shortage of things to talk about during Lufthansa’s office hours with its flight students.