American Airlines pilots, represented by the Allied Pilots Association (APA), ratified a new four-year contract that promises to deliver more than USD $9 billion of compensation and "quality-of-life benefits" to American’s 15,000 pilots.
The union announced on 21AUG 2023 that the Texas-based pilots approved the new agreement by a margin of 72.7% in favour.
According to ABC News, pilots at American Airlines have "approved a new contract that will raise their pay more than 40% over four years."
American's CEO Robert Isom said the agreement would help the airline immediately expand its "pilot training capacity to support under-utilized aircraft," also providing American pilots with opportunities to progress in their careers.
The "quality-of-life" benefits include better vacation benefits and higher training pay, which account for about 20% of the contract’s value.
Due to a shortage exacerbated by the pandemic, North American pilots have been able to secure unprecedented new deals with airlines. When travel halted, and thousands of pilots retired early or left their jobs, the shortage grew more severe. Once countries began lifting COVID restrictions in 2021, travel demand rebounded faster than anticipated, leaving many airlines struggling to secure enough crew.
As Open Jaw has reported, United Airlines pilots recently reached a contract agreement that will raise pilot pay by up to 40% over four years, in a deal valued at USD $10 billion. The agreement was designed to match the deal reached by pilots' counterparts at Delta Air Lines, who approved a similar deal earlier this year.
In Canada, WestJet recently agreed to a 24% pay raise for its pilots over the next four years, as Open Jaw has reported, and Air Canada pilots have opened negotiations on their deal a year early, with an eye to capitalizing on their leverage and the trend.