DALLAS – The more than 700 pilots of Horizon Air, Alaska Airlines’ (AS) regional sibling carrier, have this week ratified a massive contract that offers major salary increases.
The pilot union stated Friday that first officers would receive a wage increase of 85%, while captains would receive an average pay increase of 74%.
At Horizon, first-year captains will see an increase in pay from US$81 to US$149 per hour, the highest amount among regional airlines. The first cops hired recently saw their hourly pay increase from US$48 to US$90.
A first-year captain’s pay increases from roughly US$77,000 to US$142,000 based on an average of about 950 hours per year. The starting pay for a first officer nearly doubles, rising from US$46,000 to US$86,000.
Teamsters Local 1224’s executive council chair, Henry Simkins, a Horizon Air pilot, is cited by the Seattle Times as saying that when the word of the agreement spread, “we had pilots, male and female, shedding tears.”
Simskins added, “They are thrilled. We had pilots selling cars to afford food. We had pilots who couldn’t afford to pay their spouse’s medical bills. This is life-changing.”
The new contract, according to Joe Sprague, president of Horizon Air, attempts to keep talent as larger airlines continue to poach pilots at record rates from regional airlines like Horizon.
Horizon has had to cut back on its flying schedule due to the loss of pilots.
“The ongoing industry pilot shortage has put a strain on this service, and it’s more critical than ever that we attract and retain our talented pilots,” Sprague added. “We are focused on making Horizon the regional carrier of choice for pilots, and this agreement positions us well.”
Featured image: Alaska Airlines (Horizon Air) N628QX Embraer E175. Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways