About the AFAP

Mission Statement //

The Australian Federation of Air Pilots represents and promotes the interests of Australian professional flight crew and champions the highest possible standards of aviation safety.

Our Role //

The Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) is an industrial organisation and professional association for commercial pilots in Australia.

As an industrial organisation we protect and improve employment conditions for our pilot members. This includes assistance in negotiating enterprise agreements, representation in the event of a dispute with an employer, assistance in the event of an accident or incident, expert advice on award and agreement matters and updates on pilot issues through regular newsletters.

As a professional association, the AFAP provides a forum for pilots to meet and discuss all aviation related matters. The AFAP has an active Technical Committee which contributes expertise towards the development of Australian and international aviation safety standards. The AFAP regularly makes submissions to government authorities to ensure the interests of our members are recognised.

Our democratic structure allows members to be directly involved in the decision-making processes of the AFAP, as well as their own workplace negotiations.

Members are encouraged to participate in the issues affecting their workplace. Within larger enterprises, pilots have established their own AFAP councils (including Cobham, Eastern, Jetstar, National Jet Systems, Sunstate, Rex and Virgin) using the Federation for industrial assistance or guidance.

Our rotary pilots are represented by the AFAP Helicopter Council. Within the space of General Aviation, we represent pilots across Australia and contribute to the maintenance and improvement of the Air Pilots Award 2010. This group of pilots is represented by the AFAP National Council. 

Regardless of the size of the workplace or the type of flying performed, all members are encouraged to participate in the decision-making processes of the AFAP and the issues affecting their workplace


“Australia’s first pilots’ union was not an organisation known for toeing the line. Described on occasion as the most powerful union in Australia, the Federation has fought since its beginnings to build and maintain the professional status of its members and to achieve recognition of a pilot’s unique skills.

The Australian Federation of Air Pilots is not just a union, it is a professional body with a proud history of contributing to Australia’s high standards of aviation safety and technical progress and the welfare of its members.

Peppered with strong characters and bitter feuds the organisation found its way within Australia’s industrial relations, political and bureaucratic structures. There were wins and losses along the way, and time and again the federation faced ruin, but an underpinning culture of loyalty, support and determination has ensured its survival”

- A FEDERATION OF PILOTS: The Story of an Australian Air Pilots Union, Mary Sheehan and Sonia Jennings (Historians).

The Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) has been shaped by its colourful history. Pilots’ passion for flying moulded this industrial organisation. While circumstances have changed, it is this same passion which is held by our members today as they seek the best working conditions for pilots.

We were established in 1938 as the Australian Institute of Air Pilots and Navigators. Following WW2, we were registered as an industrial union and became the Australian Air Pilots’ Association.  This new status enabled us to enforce wages and conditions for professional pilots and to promote the ethics and integrity of the profession.

In 1948 Australian pilots convened in London with colleagues from around the world to establish the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations. Our relationship with IFALPA continues today.

As an organisation representing strong minded and highly trained individuals we have seen change and, at times, fragmentation occur. In 1959 to circumvent what was perceived as an Arbitration system incapable of understanding the profession, all members of the Australian Air Pilots’ Association resigned. For a period, until government regulation caught up, we operated outside the industrial system and were not subject to its penal powers. Thirty years later in 1989, the AFAP was embroiled in one of the most bitter, protracted and costly industrial disputes Australia has ever experienced. 

Today, we continue to grow and represent the interests of commercial pilots in all sectors of the Australian aviation industry. As reflected in our history, our organisation encourages and thrives on participation from all pilots, whether they work in helicopters, aero medical, crop dusting, search and rescue, flight instruction or airlines. Resilience and representation are core values for pilots.

If you are a commercial pilot who believes in this profession – become part of our history.


Protecting Australia's Pilots