The pilots say they do not earn enough to pay back the loans of up to €125,000 and the bank should never have lent them so much money.
Their lawyer says the debts should be reduced to ‘proportions which normal people can pay off’ and want the bank to establish a payment scheme for young pilots.
The pilots say they have been unable to earn enough to pay back the debts because of the economic downturn and the arrival of budget airlines like Ryanair which pay far less than flag carriers like KLM. Asian airlines which are also booming pay far lower salaries as well.
ABN Amro says the market is improving and a shortage of pilots is on the cards. It also says it has offered to extend the payment period and freeze the interest so the debt does not increase further.
Trainee pilots and their families are made fully aware of the terms and conditions attached to the loans, the bank told Nos television.