Hawaiian Airlines Contract Would Give Freighter Pilots Top-Tier Pay

Hawaiian Airlines Contract Would Give Freighter Pilots Top-Tier Pay

DALLAS – How would you like to make US$376 an hour flying freighters to Hawaii, with that pay rate rising to US$436 per hour by 2027? That’s what senior A330 freighter captains hauling cargo for Amazon will make at Hawaiian Airlines (HA) if the tentative contract is ratified.

According to the airline and freightwaves.com, the tentative labor contract reached last week with all of HA’s pilots could make its freighter crews among the best-paid in the industry, out-earning their peers at FedEx and UPS.

In October, HA and Amazon agreed that the airline would operate and maintain an initial fleet of 10 Airbus A330-300 freighters. Beginning in fall 2023, HW will move cargo between the Hawaiian Islands and the mainland US under Hawaiian’s FAA air carrier certificate, according to airline spokeswoman Kris Tanahara.

Ten aircraft are scheduled to enter service in 2023–24, and the agreement allows the fleet to expand as business needs dictate.

Photo: Hawaiian Airlines

Pay Bump

According to the ALPA, the agreement gives all HA pilots an average 33% pay increase. About half of that will be paid upon the signing of the contract. The contract also adds to retirement benefits, increases scheduling flexibility, and sets industry-leading rates for Hawaiian’s new cargo operation for Amazon.

Both Amazon and HA hope the industry-leading contract will attract more pilots in this environment of hiring shortages. Hawaiian has suggested that it would be hiring around 160 freighter pilots in addition to its expansion of crew hiring for its passenger flights.

“We are excited to help serve Amazon customers by providing additional air cargo capacity and logistics support,” said Peter Ingram, president, and CEO at Hawaiian Airlines. “This relationship provides a catalyst to grow our business and the unique opportunity to diversify our revenue sources while capitalizing on our established strengths.”

“We’re thrilled to work with Hawaiian Airlines,” said Sarah Rhoads, Vice President, Amazon Global Air. “They will maintain and operate the next generation of aircraft in our fleet, which is a reflection of the excellence they deliver as a renowned airline with their own A330 aircraft.”

Hawaiian Airlines N392HA Airbus A330-200. Photo: Luca Flores/Airways

The Fleet

The A330s will replace Boeing 767 freighters as contracts expire. According to FreightWaves, “Amazon will pay Hawaiian a fixed monthly fee per aircraft, a per-flight-hour fee, and a fee for each flight cycle operated. It will also reimburse Hawaiian for operating expenses, including fuel, certain maintenance, and insurance premiums.”

According to the airline, to prepare for its growing work with Amazon, HA intends to establish a pilot base on the continental U.S., grow existing maintenance bases, and expand the hiring of pilots, mechanics, dispatchers, supply chain employees, and others who will help support this new cargo operation.

If HA pilots ratify the contract, it will become effective on March 2.

Featured image: Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330. Photo: Brando Farris/Airways

John Huston is a marketer, writer, and videographer who's always loved planes, clocked 10 whole hours in a Cessna and can spend hours wandering around ATL. Based in Atlanta, GA, United States.

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