Christophe Govillot, water bomber pilot at the Civil Security base in Saint-Gilles, met the President of the Republic on Friday 28 October at the Elysée.
Christophe Govillot, you were at the Elysée on Friday October 28. Are you satisfied with the announcements of the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron?
The first feeling is very positive because there is a renewal of the canadairs. We would go from twelve to sixteen water bomber planes by the end of the mandate in 2027. Afterwards, he spoke of a European manufacture of these planes. We will probably know more the first week of November. All these fine words must be followed by quick deeds and deeds. There are Europeans who have positioned themselves in these markets. The first to sign will be the first served. The presidential announcement is unprecedented so we are satisfied.
As a representative of the National Union of Civil Aeronautics Flight Crew, what assurances have you obtained in terms of Civil Security personnel?
For these planes, you have to have pilots. At the moment, we are already struggling to put it in our twelve planes. At all costs, the profession must become attractive again. We must launch job creations and recruit very quickly. A Canadairs pilot training is between four to five years. We will have to be ready when we receive these planes.
Within five years, for sixteen planes, we will need thirty crews. For now, there are only sixteen captains. It would be necessary, to do well, to train four a year.
“Ensuring more serenity for our families”
What message did Emmanuel Macron send to your profession, which wants to be recognized as a risky profession?
This point is still not resolved. In recent days, two Italian colleagues have fallen during an intervention on a forest fire. President Macron was told this was not normal. On this point, we are disappointed. It’s not a salary issue. It’s just a recognition that will ensure a little more serenity to our families if something happens to us.
How was this meeting with President Macron who received those who fought against the forest fires?
We were able to chat with him for about ten minutes. It was very positive because he understood our concerns for the future. He said he took them into account and would move the risky trade recognition file forward very quickly. The general feeling is nevertheless satisfaction because we have been asking for this renewal of the fleet and the increase in the number of Canadairs for ten years. The real problem lies in human resources.
No one wants to work with us. Our profession is no longer attractive. The Civil Security pilots are asked for the same diplomas as those of Air France. We have the same training.
And on the European vocation of the Civil Security base, has there been any progress?
There have been some announcements on the infrastructure work to be carried out to accommodate all these planes. At present, it cannot be done in a parking lot. President Macron did not provide details. He nevertheless affirmed that the base of Civil Security must be a European model without providing details.
Sixteen times more burnt areas in 2022 in the Gard
According to Prometheus, a database on forest fires in the Mediterranean region, the Gard has not been spared compared to other southern departments. Indeed, 1,218 hectares of vegetation were burned in 2022 compared to 73 hectares the previous year, i.e. sixteen times more surface area! On an annual average, between 2017 and 2021, 385 ha of vegetation go up in smoke in the Gard. In Languedoc-Roussillon, it is the third most affected department behind Hérault and Pyrénées-Orientales.