Organisation of working time of mobile workers in civil aviation

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Organisation of working time of mobile workers in civil aviation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Organisation of working time of mobile workers in civil aviation


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

Organisation of working time of mobile workers in civil aviation

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 2000/79/EC of 27 November 2000 concerning the European Agreement on the Organisation of Working Time of Mobile Workers in Civil Aviation concluded by the Association of European Airlines (AEA), the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), the European Cockpit Association (ECA), the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) and the International Air Carrier Association (IACA).


The transport sector was excluded from the Directive concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time (first Directive dating from 1993) but included in the scope of Directive 2000/34/EC. These two texts were codified by Directive 2003/88/EC.

This new basic Directive therefore includes mobile staff in civil aviation in its scope. However, the general provisions of the basic Directive do not apply to occupations for which ‘more specific requirements’ are adopted at Community level, which is the case here with mobile staff in civil aviation.

On 22 March 2000 the employee and employer organisations in this sector signed a European Agreement on the Organisation of Working Time* of Mobile Staff in Civil Aviation*. This Agreement is annexed to the present Directive and is an integral part of it.

The Council Directive provides for:

  • at least four weeks’ paid annual leave and specific health and safety measures appropriate to the nature of the work. This leave may not be replaced by an allowance in lieu, except where the employment relationship is terminated;
  • a free health assessment before employees are assigned and thereafter at regular intervals, subject to medical confidentiality requirements;
  • an obligation on the employer to adapt the pace of the work to the worker and to inform the competent authorities of this if required;
  • health and safety protection appropriate to the nature of the work, including appropriate services and means of prevention and protection;
  • a maximum annual working time of 2000 hours, with the total flight time* limited to 900 hours, spread as evenly as practicable throughout the year;
  • a certain number of days free of all service (7 days per months and at least 96 days per year).

The Agreement thus defines minimum standards, on the basis of which Member States may adopt more favourable provisions. The implementation of the text must not reduce the general standard of protection for workers in the fields it covers.

On the basis of the 1998 Communication entitled “Adapting and promoting the social dialogue at Community level”, the Commission evaluated the text of the Agreement according to the following points:

  • representativeness and mandate of the contracting parties: the five contracting organisations operate at European level, are represented in all the Member States and cover a large majority of mobile staff in civil aviation;
  • respect for the provisions protecting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): Article 137 of the Treaty on European Union provides that social legislation must avoid imposing administrative, financial and legal constraints in a way which would hold back the creation and development of small and medium-sized undertakings. The Commission takes the view that the Agreement, which was signed by an employer organisation representing SMEs, complies with this provision;
  • compatibility of the Agreement with Community law: the Commission is in favour of the objectives of the Agreement, which is in line with the Commission’s social agenda. The Agreement also confirms the vital role of the European social partners.

Key terms used in the act

  • Working time: any period during which the worker is at work, at the employer’s disposal and carrying out his activity or duties, in accordance with national laws and/or practice,
  • Mobile staff in civil aviation: crew members on board a civil aircraft, employed by an undertaking established in a Member State,
  • Block flying time: the time between an aircraft first moving from its parking place for the purpose of taking off until it comes to rest on the designated parking position and until all engines are stopped.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2000/79/EC [adoption: consultation CNS/2000/0164]



OJ L 302 of 1.12.2000

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