American Airlines offers 17% pay raises to pilots in new contract pitch
June 30, 2022
By Kyle Arnold, Dallas Morning News
Fort Worth-based American Airlines is offering pilots a 17% pay raise in a new contract proposal, CEO Robert Isom told employees Thursday.
The offer matches the contract proposal that Chicago’s United Airlines offered to its pilots in May. American says its proposal gives about $2 billion in additional compensation to its 12,700 pilots, along with “quality of life improvements” that the Allied Pilots Association has made the center of its demands.
The proposal comes as American Airlines looks to bolster its pilot ranks as it’s been forced to cut flying to some cities because of a nationwide shortage of aviators.
“A couple of weeks ago, I made a commitment to our pilots — and all our team members, really — that the American Airlines team will be paid well, and paid competitively, no matter what,” Isom said in a video message to employees.
“That commitment included a promise to improve our pilot proposal once we knew the details of the United tentative agreement.”
Isom also put extra pressure on pilots to get the deal done sooner than later, promising extra signing bonuses and retroactive pay increases if the contract is ratified by Sept. 30.
The union representing American pilots said its leadership team is reviewing the offer. Pilots would also have to vote on the plan.
Under the deal American offered, narrowbody captains can make as much as $340,000 a year, $45,000 more than they make now. Pilots on widebody jets, such as the Boeing 787, can make as much as $425,00 a year, a $64,000 improvement.
The pilots union has waged a contract campaign focused on how the lives of pilots have suffered as the carrier experiences heavy delays and cancellations since passenger traffic has picked up in the last 14 months.
It gathered hundreds of pilots to demonstrate at DFW International Airport in January and earlier this month on Wall Street in New York City, looking to get the attention of passengers, company executives and investors.
The union has pushed for better scheduling practices and more freedom for aviators to pick up shifts and a reduction in the amount of time on reserve. It contends scheduling improvements could help alleviate delay and cancellation issues, while still warning that the airline has planned too many flights for the peak summer schedule.
American has not released full details of the offer, but Isom said in the video that there would be “significant improvements to scheduling-related and quality-of-life items.”
“Those range from eliminating the sick offset for premium flying to giving you more control and greater certainty when it comes to replacement flying,” Isom said in the video.
The proposal also gives a 16% increase to retirement savings accounts and improved profit-sharing, he said. There are also pay and benefit improvements for check airmen pilots that provide simulator training.
American Airlines is also in the middle of contract negotiations with flight attendants. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is holding negotiations with pilots and flight attendants, too.