DALLAS — American Airlines (AA) CEO Robert Isom announced that the Dallas-based airline is prepared to match fellow US carrier Delta Air Lines (DL) new pilot contract.
This would occur by raising the pilot’s pay by a cumulative 40% over four years and will improve profit sharing. In a video to American Airlines pilots on Tuesday, March 7th, Isom stated that Delta’s new pilot deal would determine compensation and benefits for pilots across the industry.
Mr. Isom added, “Let me be clear. American is prepared to match Delta pay rates and provide American’s pilots with the same profit-sharing formula as Delta’s pilots.” For the past three years, the largest airline in the world has been in negotiations with the Allied Pilots Association, which represents over 15,000 pilots for AA.
New Pilot Contracts in the US
Last week, pilots at DL approved a new contract that, over the course of four years, their pay will increase by 34%, costing the Atlanta-based carrier almost US$7bn. In addition, Alaska Airlines (AS) pilots negotiated a new contract; these deals set the stage for other US carriers and pilot unions to create similar agreements.
Currently, United Airlines (UA) and Southwest Airlines (WN) are in the midst of contract talks. Isom stated that AA’s new pledge for pay is not only about the DL pilot deal; rather it is about improving the pilot’s quality of life.
During the pandemic, decreases in the aviation industry forced contract negotiations to be put on hold. Now as demand has returned to pre-pandemic levels, pilots are seeking better schedules and compensation.
Planned Wage Rate
According to the plan, AA pilots, on average, will receive a 21% pay increase. This would factor in higher 401(k) contributions by the end of the four-year agreement. Captains flying a narrow-body aircraft would make US$475,000 per year at the top of the pay scale, which is an increase of US$135,000.
Captains flying a widebody aircraft would make US$590,000 per year at the top of the pay scale, which is a US$170,000 increase in pay from current compensation. Overall, this new agreement is expected to cost the airline almost US$7bn.
In addition, the airline promised better scheduling for pilots as pilots have had to endure frequent schedule changes as the airline continues to build back its pre-pandemic network.
Based in Dallas, Texas, AA is the largest carrier in the world. The airline operates around 6,800 flights daily to over 365 destinations across 61 countries.
Featured image: American Airlines pilots at MIA. Photo: Brandon Wade/American Airlines