Alaska Airlines on Friday announced a tentative contract agreement has been reached with its pilots’ union, a deal that could set a precedent at a time when carriers worldwide are struggling with a pilot shortage.
As first reported by the Seattle Times, the contract will give Alaska Airlines captains a pay bump of between 15 and 23 percent depending on seniority, while first officers will receive an extra eight to 23 percent.
On top of the new contract, assuming the Air Line Pilots Association ratifies the deal, pilots will also receive pay increases next year and the year after. Pilots pay in 2024 will average a pay scale of $300 to $333 per hour; first officers will earn $108 to $229 per hour.
Aside from the salary, pilots will also receive job security language written into the contract as well as schedule flexibility.
“It’s a lot more than the pay increases,” captain David Campbell, who heads communications for ALPA’s Alaska Airlines unit, told the Times. “This contract wins major improvements the pilots have wanted for decades.”
It also comes at a critical time in the industry. The pilot shortage has affected every airline, many of which are also facing – or will be facing – similar negotiations with its pilots. Not only does the contract put Alaska Airlines pilot pay in line with the big three carriers at American, Delta and United, but it includes a proviso to raise pilot salary to stay at a competitive level with the other carriers.
“We deeply value our pilots and are happy to have reached a tentative agreement … that can now be considered for ratification by our entire pilot group,” Alaska’s Chief Financial Officer Shane Tackett said in a statement. “(The contract) addresses the things that matter most to our pilots, while also supporting a sustainable business model.”