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News Letter 18 October 2017

Good day all

I hope everyone had a good week, I would like to thank all the supporters of Flightline Weekly the visits are growing daily and I am humbled by the positive reaction received from people in the aviation industry. If you have any comments or recommendations please contact me on all feedback will be appreciated greatly.

The weekend is almost on us and Bloem seems to be the place to be, have a wonderful week and please stay safe out there.

Free State Regional Aerobatics

Bloemfontein’s New Tempe air field will be the home of SAC Aerobatics, with the Free State Reginal championships being held on Saturday.

Westline Aviation open day

Westline Aviation will be hosting an Open Day on Saturday 21 October so if you in the Bloemfontein area and interested in aviation New Tempe is definitely the place to be. Westline Aviation has been active at the New Tempe Airport near Bloemfontein (S29 01 57.70, E26 09 28.80) for the last 13 years and offers an extensive range of aviation related courses and programs and are sure to meet all your training needs.

The African Air Show

The African Air Show takes place at Kotoka International Airport of Accra in Ghana, known as the first global aviation exhibition for Africa. Due to the fact that general, business as well as also commercial aviation in Africa have gained in importance during the past few years, as tourism and efficient transportation of raw materials, among others, have increased, exhibitors take the opportunity to use the exhibition taking place at a strategically convenient location as an important information and communication platform of the industry.

Drone Collision in Canada

A drone struck a plane on one of its wings while on approach to Québec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport on Thursday. The plane was operated by local charter airline Skyjet.

“This is the first time a drone has hit a commercial aircraft in Canada. I am extremely relieved that the aircraft only sustained minor damage and was able to land safely,” Canada’s Minister of Transport Marc Garneau said in a statement. “If a drone were to hit the window of a cockpit and incapacitate the pilot, or were to damage in anyway an engine, this could have catastrophic results.”

While the drone in question was following the 3.5-mile restriction, it was flying well above the allotted 90-meter (295-foot) ceiling, reportedly reaching a height of 450 meters (1,500 feet).

“It’s important to note that aircraft are particularly vulnerable when on final approach coming in—the pilot is concentrating on landing properly,” Garneau said.

All parties involved are working together on the investigation into the accident.

“Transport Canada is monitoring the situation and is in contact with its transportation partners including Skyjet, the Jean Lesage International Airport and NAV CANADA [Canada’s air traffic organization],” Garneau said. “My department is in contact with the Service de police de la Ville de Québec and we will cooperate with the Transportation Safety Board should they decide to investigate.”

Mango Airlines Pilots Strike

Members of trade union Solidarity at Mango began to strike on Monday morning after the airline declared a dispute with the trade union, thereby causing negotiations to deadlock.

Low-cost airline Mango is prepared to pay millions of rand for alternative arrangements so as not to disrupt operations due to a pilot strike, yet it would only cost Mango about R3m more to accommodate the pilots' demands.

The pilots are demanding an 8.5% salary increase after their last 3-year salary agreement with the airline expired at the end of September. Mango is offering the pilots a 6% increase. The difference is only a total of about R3m a year for all of the about 110 pilots.

The trade union insists it is certainly not a case that the pilots 'just want to strike'. “We don't want to hurt Mango. We want to see the airline grow, we just want the public to understand where we are coming from and the situation we find ourselves in

We want our pilots to feel that if they join the company, they have a career ahead of them. At the moment it is not like that. Mango have lost almost half their pilot group to other airlines - mostly in the Middle East.

Mango pilots fly the same aircraft, the same local routes and have to maintain the same standards as South African Airways pilots, but they earn less , Comair Pilots are also better paid.

The pilots commissioned a salary benchmarking report from a specialist company. The report looked at the data of more than 1 000 companies, including that of Mango. It found the salaries of Mango pilots lagged below the median. Mango pilots want to eventually earn the median, market related salary - which would still be lower than the salaries of SAA pilots.

Mango's management allegedly rejected the findings of the report, saying it did not include data from the aviation sector. The pilots, however, said that adding the few aviation companies in South Africa would not change the median by much.

According to the report, the salaries of Mango pilots are about 23% lower than the median and that of first officers about 40% below the median.

"We want increases phased in over a few years in order to reach at least the median. That is why we are only asking for 8.5% now. Pilots at other airlines have received salary increases in line with what we are asking," said one pilot.

In an emailed response to a request for comment, Mango said it would be engaging with Solidarity on Wednesday morning.

"At this stage we would not like to comment... we are engaging with the union tomorrow morning and do not want to prejudice negotiations as the process is still not concluded,” it said.

A statement on its website on Tuesday evening stated that it was "working to make sure passengers reach their destinations. All passengers have been accommodated and we will advise of any delays or cancellations via SMS, email or at the check-in counters".

An additional demand by the pilots is to have a regulating agreement for the airline, setting out the terms and conditions of employment.

"We accept that the nature of the job is that we have to work irregular hours, weekends and public holidays. The problem comes regarding our rest periods. Currently there are too many grey areas in the company's scheduling guideline 'open for interpretation' by the company," said a pilot.

"We rather want to work with hard facts. We want a regulating agreement. We are willing to have the negotiation of the terms facilitated by a commissioner of the CCMA."

A pilot said that SAA and SA Express both have such a regulating agreements, but not Mango.

Meanwhile, trade union Solidarity said in a statement late on Tuesday that it had been approached by Mango Airlines to return to the discussion table for a possible agreement.

Solidarity Deputy General Secretary Deon Reyneke confirmed that the union would be available for negotiations.

“As we said from the outset, we have been willing to negotiate all along, but the company was the one who turned its back on the collective bargaining process,” said Reyneke.

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Kind Regards



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