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    Unless we act, this is just the beginning of the erosion of safety and professionalism in the airline industry

Gig Economy in the Sky

We are heading for seismic changes in the way airlines are run. These changes will have a growing and enormous impact on pilots and passenger safety.

Foremost among these is the ‘gig economy’ where pilots will be less trained and will be hired on the basis of cost and availability rather than skill and experience. This is an issue we are already starting to see amongst certain airlines.

The airlines won’t admit this is the future they are planning for and thus far other Unions have little to protect pilots and passengers from the consequences. That’s why the PPU is raising awareness of it now because, unless we do something, it will become the future of the airline industry.


The gig economy, based on short-term contracts and freelancing, may work for pizza delivery or taxis but passengers don’t want an agency pilot to take the controls of an aircraft and fly its passengers across the Atlantic.

Every passenger that takes a seat on an aircraft in the UK is putting their absolute faith and trust in the pilots who are flying the aircraft and despite the fact that it is not what the public want, in recent times, we have seen more and more independently contracted pilots working in this profession. And unless we act, this is just the beginning of the erosion of safety and professionalism in the airline industry.

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PPU stance

We do not wish to see a “gig economy in the sky” that:

  • Compromises passenger safety

  • Acts as a barrier to contracted pilot career progression

  • Impacts upon pilot pay

  • Adversely affects rostering patterns

  • Leads to industrial dispute and unrest


At the PPU we will fight for our members and support them if this issue continues to escalate and if it begins, as we fully anticipate, to impact on these points.



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