Hi Nienke! Thanks a lot for accepting this interview on Air Observer. I must admit something about your book unsettled me right away. People usually believe that being a pilot is a glamorous, unique experience. But you seem to see things differently…
Can you describe to our readers the exact nature of the employment system you denounce in your book?
Student pilots have to pay 800 euros per month to cover their ‘pilot loans’
It seems to be one loan after another… Do they manage to cover their debt eventually? What happened if they do not find a job?
“Student pilots often don’t get to see these contracts between the flight school and the bank”
Some pilots consider themselves lucky because they were able to get a job via a pay-to-fly construction. Actually, to me that is not a job. A job is something you get paid for, not something you have to pay for yourself. It’s a perverse system. The subtitle of my book ‘De vervlogen droom’ is: Pilot, from hero to mercenary. Need to say more?
How many pilots and first officers are concerned in the Netherlands? In Europe?
Why is such a thing happening?
I would like to go back over what you said on banks and industry professionals. Could you tell us more about the links between the two?
“The FTO’s need the bank, the bank needs the FTO’s: in the end, pilot students are considered cash cows”
Could it be that this system is a consequence of the pressure of airlines employing pilots with Irish contracts?
What does the Dutch government plan to do about it? What about Europe?
“Europe should stop these slavery contracts that definitely affect the flight safety”