American vs United on Pilot Pay
- United Airlines‘ new accord with pilots may not be the slamdunk airline and union leaders hope it is. Following the news that American Airlines offered its pilots a nearly 17 percent raise in a proposal sent to the Allied Pilots Association (more below), the Air Line Pilots Association chapter at United suspended a roadshow where it was attempting to sell the tentative agreement to crew members. But it may be a convenient excuse for ALPA: even before the American news, Airline Weekly understood that there is significant dissension in the ranks over everything from pay to regional scope, reserve and quality of life issues. Some members view the headline pay increase of 14.5 percent, which includes a previously agreed-to 5 percent increase, over two years as “substandard.” In addition, an increase to the weight limit allowed for 50-seat regional jets is also raising ire among pilots who abhor any additional regional scope relief. Voting on the United accord concludes July 15.
- American CEO Robert Isom took his pitch directly to the airline’s pilots in video shared on June 30. In that video, he promised to raise pay to rates comparable with United — the current leader in the U.S. — with a 16.9 percent raise over two years. The proposal also includes per diem, reserve, and other quality of life improvements, he said. Isom’s move is notable in that he bypassed the APA, which represents pilots at American, where negotiations are normally held behind closed doors.
- UK-based pilots at Ryanair represented by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) last week approved a contract that restores pre-Covid pay levels and provides wage increases through 2026, according to the airline. “This long-term agreement delivers stability, accelerated pay restoration, future pay increases and other benefit improvements for our UK pilots,” Ryanair People Director Darrell Hughes said.
- Pilots at Mesa Airlines rejected a tentative agreement on June 29. Of those who voted, 68 percent were against the deal that would have raised starting rates for first officers flying regional jets to $48 an hour, according to ALPA. The rejection comes less than two weeks after ALPA and American-owned Envoy, Piedmont Airlines, and PSA Airlines agreed to significant wage increases to $90 an hour for starting first officers. “We believe this vote reflects the rapid market shift for airline pilots which will need to be addressed by management,” said Captain Chris Gill, chair of ALPA’s Mesa Master Executive Council.
- Flight attendants at Eastern Airlines have voted to join the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA). According to the union, 94 percent of cabin crew members at the carrier voted in favor of membership in a vote that was certified by the U.S. National Mediation Board on June 27. Eastern flight attendants must elect their union leadership before contract talks can begin.