Avianca pilot dispute (IFALPA Letter)


Well-Known Member
If you work for UAL write or call the chairman of the Alliance and Scope Oversight Committee, Alberto Gaspari

If you work for Delta e-mail their Scope and Alliance Chairman, Luigie Martinez

IFALPA is having a big conference in Luxembourg next week. Write Ron Abel, The President at

The point is to express concern for the actions of Avianca management's treatment of union pilots who are being terminated in conflict with the back to work agreement that was overseen by a government tribunal stipulating that no retaliation would be taken against the striking pilots.


Well-Known Member
Why is the Avianca pilot group split in union representation? When my MAD-BOG leg was cancelled due to the strike, I was told only half their pilots were impacted by it.
Avianca is not a closed shop like in the U.S.. The ACDAC pilots went on strike, while the others who had elected not to be part of the union kept working. Not an optimal situation for sure and that certainly undermined ACDAC's ability to stage an effective strike, but that point is off topic really. The present issue is that union pilots fighting for better pay and working conditions in what was really a legal strike (only declared "illegal" by the government despite the ILO definitions of public service) are being terminated. The dismissals for union involvement and terminations to deter the future rights to bargain are the main points to be discussing here.


Socialist Pig Member
Bad phrasing in that letter I think. The point is that terminations like this go against basic laws agreed upon by OECD member states detailing worker's rights. At least I think that is what he meant to say.
No, he meant exactly what he said. The ability to freely associate, organize, assemble, withhold services, etc. are all natural rights.


Well-Known Member
In 2001 when Cathay Pacific terminated 51 pilots for union activities IFALPA in conjunction with the HKAOA instituted a "Recruitment Ban" on Cathay and asked that no professional pilot accept a job offer with Cathay: - 1704.PDF

Something similar should be done for Avianca. Blatant union busting at a United Airlines partner to keep their labor costs sub-standard should be a concern for U.S. pilots. It's your flying that will be transferred to the lower cost provider.


Well-Known Member
Strong momentum is building thanks to the UAL and DAL Scope and Alliance committees. Letters have gone out from ALPA and IFALPA condemning the actions of Avianca management. IFALPA has a meeting coming up this week in Luxembourg, hopefully more comes out of that.


Well-Known Member
Ooooo, they've condemned management. Sounds pretty scary. I bet management will get right on it, now that they've been condemned.


Well-Known Member
Juan Manuel Santos Calderón
President of Colombia
Calle 7 N° 6-54
Santa Fe de Bogota, Colombia

Dear President Santos:

I am writing on behalf of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (“ALPA”), which represents more than 60,000 airline pilots at 34 air carriers in the United States and Canada.

We are deeply disturbed about the anti-union tactics by Avianca Airlines (“Avianca”) that are being used against their pilots. These tactics which have been on-going for some time have now escalated to a level that cannot be tolerated. We are advised that the president of the Association Colombiana de Aviadores Civiles (“ACDAC”) was terminated from his employment for carrying out his legitimate union activities. Additionally, Avianca has filed unwarranted criminal charges against him. We understand that Avianca is planning similar discipline for many more pilots for supporting their union ACDAC. This deplorable anti-union conduct cannot be tolerated as it violates the pilots and other workers’ basic human rights to collectively bargain for pay and working conditions and not be subjected to discrimination because of union membership. This conduct, in our view, violates the Labor Action Plan (“LAP”) in the current trade agreement between the United States and Colombia and the International Labor Organization Conventions CO87 and CO98 that Colombia has ratified which protects workers’ rights to organize, bargain collectively, and engage in industrial action.

Avianca’s intimidating actions have nullified the “non-punitive” or “positive safety culture” that ICAO has mandated in Annex 19. Safety is a pilot’s number one priority. When there are distractions and concerns about employment status, and confrontational work relationships with the employer, that will impact a pilot’s ability to focus on his/her primary function which is operating the aircraft safely. In addition, we understand that Avianca plans to replace significant numbers of the well-trained and experienced unionized Colombian pilots that it plans to terminate with foreign workers on a temporary or permanent basis. Permitting Avianca to implement such a drastic plan of action would be contrary to flight safety. Avianca needs to change its course and work to reestablish the necessary trust with their pilots to regain a “positive safety culture.”

Your Excellency, we respectfully ask that you investigate the deplorable labor relations at Avianca and use your office to foster a mutually agreeable solution to this matter. The unfair treatment of the Avianca pilots is receiving international attention and we believe your image will be enhanced if you champion the basic human rights of Colombian workers.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Captain Tim Canoll, President
Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l


Well-Known Member
Allied Pilots Association: Pilots and Passengers of Avianca Airlines “Deserve Better”

FORT WORTH, Texas (March 12, 2018) – In response to deteriorating relations between Avianca Airlines management and the carrier’s pilots represented by the Colombian Pilots’ Union (ACDAC), Allied Pilots Association President Capt. Daniel F. Carey issued the following statement:

“Avianca management has engaged in blatant union-busting by subjecting union leaders and union members alike to arbitrary discipline proceedings. Management has even brought criminal charges against the union president. These heavy-handed tactics can only serve to distract and have no place in a highly safety-sensitive industry like ours. The dedicated professional pilots who fly for Avianca deserve better, and so do the passengers who place their trust in the airline.

“APA concurs with the assessment of the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations that Avianca management’s conduct violates the Labor Action Plan in the current U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement and the International Labor Organization Fundamental Conventions 87 & 98. In accordance with these in-force agreements, the pilots of Avianca have the right to organize, bargain collectively, and engage in industrial action.

“We likewise concur with IFALPA that Avianca management’s conduct runs counter to the International Civil Aviation Organization’s recommendations regarding the need for a non-punitive safety culture.

“For these reasons and for the good of all concerned, we urge Avianca management to take a different approach — one that conforms to international norms and respects the legitimate rights of Avianca’s pilots.

“APA representatives will remain in close contact with our brother and sister pilots at Avianca, and we stand ready to help.”

Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association — the largest independent pilots union in the United States — is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, including several hundred pilots on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union’s website is American Airlines is the world’s largest passenger airline.


Well-Known Member
As of yesterday Avianca management have terminated 104 pilots who were involved in the strike. This goes against the back to work agreement brokered by the government.

Since United is doing a JV with Avianca I would really like to see the United pilots fight for the Avianca pilots. Well, I would like to see all ALPA pilots and APA pilots fight for them. It's in your own best interest to do so, otherwise United just shifts their international growth in South America to Avianca with their much lower cost structure. Avianca pilots make less than Norwegian, but ALPA has everyone wound up about that instead of focusing on imminent threats and injustices like what is happening in Colombia.
As much as I see their plight, I'm not inclined to do anything about it nor will any effort on my part make a difference. Sorry. Thousands of pilots slogging it out in the regional/LCC trenches are still being underpaid by their respective carriers and underrepresented by ALPA to give two rat's behinds


Island Bus Driver
As much as I see their plight, I'm not inclined to do anything about it nor will any effort on my part make a difference. Sorry. Thousands of pilots slogging it out in the regional/LCC trenches are still being underpaid by their respective carriers and underrepresented by ALPA to give two rat's behinds
Out of curiosity, what are you doing to improve the plight of those thousands of regional and lcc pilots?


Socialist Pig Member
As much as I see their plight, I'm not inclined to do anything about it nor will any effort on my part make a difference. Sorry. Thousands of pilots slogging it out in the regional/LCC trenches are still being underpaid by their respective carriers and underrepresented by ALPA to give two rat's behinds
While you’re right that nothing anybody does here is going to help them at Avianca, the idea that ALPA is “underrepresenting” you is asinine. While the Delta MEC gets to keep 30 cents of their dues dollar for local use, the average regional MEC is getting to keep all of their dues dollars local AND getting some of the left over Delta dues dollar. The majors subsidize the regionals. That’s the reality. Regardless of what your angry, bitter, lifer captain who’s never done a day of ALPA work in his life tells you.


Socialist Pig Member
Well, this situation has taken a very bad turn. From ALPA’s President to the head of Boeing:

Dear Mr. Muilenburg:

The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) is proud of our long and collegial working relationship with
the Boeing Company and the tremendous contribution our joint efforts have made to air transportation.
For that reason, I would like to draw attention to a recent decision by the company that will adversely
affect Avianca’s airline pilots and is opposed by ALPA’s more than 60,000 pilots who stand with them in
their fight to bargain a collective agreement with management.

Following a strike that has now concluded, Avianca management has reneged on a previously accepted
agreement that forbids retribution against the striking pilots and has retaliated against the leaders of
Asociación Colombiana de Aviadores Civiles, unjustly dismissing over 100 union pilots.

This illegal action violates the Labor Action Plan that is included in the United States-Colombia Trade
Promotion Agreement as well as the International Labor Organization Conventions on the Freedom of
Association and the Protection of the Right to Organise (No. 87) and the Right to Organise and Collective
Bargain (No. 98). Since the 1940s, both of these conventions have formed a foundation of workers’
rights in the international airline industry and helped to create the strong safety culture our airlines
benefit from today.

Following Avianca management’s recent dismissal of 12 Boeing 787 pilots, we understand that the
Boeing Company has agreed to provide 12 Boeing 787 pilots to Avianca for a period of eight months. It
appears this agreement would result in the replacement with foreign pilots of the 12 qualified and
experienced Colombian airline pilots who honored their union’s strike. It is unclear to me that how the
pilots you are sending to operate at Avianca will fit into a broken safety culture and why Boeing is willing
to accept the responsibility for safe operations.

Airline pilots around the globe, including the more than 100,000 airline pilots represented by the
International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations, have condemned Avianca’s action. Avianca
pilots are being denied their basic human rights to collectively bargain salary and working conditions and
should not be subject to discrimination based on union membership.

ALPA’s support of the Avianca pilots is unequivocal. The Boeing Company’s decision to provide pilots to
Avianca under these conditions appears unprecedented in that the Boeing Company is now directly
involved in an ongoing industrial dispute at Avianca. Our union and the world’s airline pilots strongly
condemn such action.

We urge the Boeing Company to reconsider its decision and respect international law and trade
agreements as well as the collective bargaining rights of Avianca’s union workers. The result would
reflect and further the Boeing Company’s decades of collaboration with pilot unions as well as promote
a strong and safe global airline industry.

Captain Tim Canoll, President
Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l