A better licensing system for cabin crew

Cabin crew are skilled professionals with a vital role in passenger safety. That is why they should have professional qualifications that are recognised everywhere in Europe. Indeed, ETF has long been calling for the Europe-wide introduction of cabin crew licensing and EU legislation to mandate this. The EU must formally recognise the skills of cabin crew and their responsibility for safety and security.

In Europe, most aviation workers are certified either at European level or by the authorities in their member state: pilots, air traffic management staff, flight engineers, maintenance workers, mechanics, ramp agents and security personnel. Cabin crew are the only professionals who are critical for safety and security but are still denied Europe-wide recognition of their professional status. This is a clear case of discrimination. What is more, this denial means that cabin crew are also denied the rights and protections they should benefit from as a result of their professional obligations and risks. The EU should step in and solve this issue with legislation insisting that member states’ aviation authorities recognise the professional status of cabin crew with a license or certificate of professional competence.

In other words, EU regulations on civil aviation should be developed to create a licensing system for cabin crew that covers proficiency and fitness to discharge cabin crew duties. The ETF believes that the qualifications and competences of cabin crew in the EU should be guaranteed by an obligatory professional certificate. This certificate should be issued only by the member states through their civil aviation authorities. This certificate could be issued by an organisation approved by the authorities, but this should be subject to consultation with the social partners. In any case, the certificate must show the approval of the national authority, and should be linked to medical examinations at regular intervals. The professional certificate and regular examinations would be the basis of a licensing system.

The current system for cabin crew attestation is not enough. It is the will of the ETF to build on it in order to obtain a European cabin crew license. This is in the interests of aviation safety and the rights of cabin crew all over the EU.