In the late 1960s, a few Luxair pilots took the initative of setting up an airline pilot association in Luxembourg. With the assistance of Maître Gaston Thorn, who later became prime minister of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg and president of the European Commission, the Association Luxembourgeoise des Pilotes de Ligne ALPL was established on November 11th, 1968. The purpose of the association is to safeguard the professional interests of its members as airline pilots and to promote flight safety.
The first board of the ALPL consisted of Luxair pilots Hubert Descharrières, Hary Siero, Léon Pesché and Gerd Goslings. With Hubert Descharrières, being the first president of the association.
As per the applicable labour law at that time pilots working for Luxembourg based airlines were categorized as „employé privé“, which gave them only very few rights as employees. The first objectives of the newly established pilot association were improvement of the working conditions for the pilots at Luxair reflecting the unique environment airline pilots work in, as well as achieving standards accepted internationally for pilots. This included the creation of a seniority list and the improvement of the very low salaries of the First Officers at Luxembourg’s flag carrier by the time.
In June 1970 the ALPL board concluded an agreement with Luxair. This agreement outlined the terms and conditions of the pilots employed by Luxair. In October 1974 the association together with the „Fédération des Employés Privés“ signed the first Collective Work Agreement (CWA) applicable to all employees of Luxair. This was the first time in the history of Luxair, that a CWA was signed covering the airline’s pilots, fixing their terms and conditions to reflect international standards.
In June 1974 the pilots of the newly established all cargo airline Cargolux joined the association, which from then on represented the interests of pilots at both major airlines of the Grand-Duchy.
During the following decades, the association represented the pilots at Luxair, Cargolux and other airlines such as West Air Luxembourg, resulting in improved terms and conditions for its members. This included financially bridging the gap between the maximum age a pilot license was revalidated by the license issuing countries – which was the age of 60 – and the legal retirement age for „employé privé“ in Luxembourg of 65 years. In those days, Luxembourg did not issue any commercial or airline transport pilot licenses, but validated licenses of other countries.
The year 1985 marked another important mile stone in the history of the association and for flight safety in Luxembourg. This was the first time that rules for flight-duty and rest times for crewmembers were established in Luxembourg by the implementation of a Règlement Grand Ducal, which remained in force for airline operations until 2016.
As of 2005 the association promoted the implementation of Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) in complex operations, like those of an all cargo airline operating flights worldwide. In 2013 Cargolux was one of the first airlines within Europe to implement a FRMS based on the newly published joint guidelines and best practices by the international civil aviation organization (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Federation of Airline Pilot Associations (IFALPA), of which ALPL is an active member since 1969.
Since its early years, members of the association have been actively involved both at IFALPA and the European Cockpit Association (ECA) representing the interests of Luxembourg pilots at the international level, as members of working groups or working group chairpersons and as board members of ECA. This involvement reflects the international spirit of the association and its members hailing from 27 countries.
Today, nearly five decades after the association was established, the ALPL continues to represent the interests of its members and continues following the spirit of the founding fathers of the Grand-Duchy’s airline pilot association: Making flight safety the number one priority.