American Airlines offers pilots higher raises in new contract proposal

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Pilots talk as they look at the tail of an American Airlines aircraft at Dallas-Ft Worth International Airport.
Mike Stone | Reuters

American Airlines‘ pilots union is weighing an offer for higher raises in a new two-year contract proposal, the latest attempt to seal up a labor deal at the country’s largest airline.

If approved by the union’s board and ratified by the airline’s 15,000 pilots, aviators would get 12% raises on the date of contract signing, plus 5% after one year, and 2% after two years, according to a copy of the agreement in principal. The total would be higher than the raises American offered in June.

More senior captains would get about $432 an hour two years after signing, while new first officers would get close to $110 an hour, according to the preliminary agreement.

Airlines are scrambling to get labor deals done with pilots, their highest-paid unionized employees, and other groups. American and the other largest U.S. carriers – Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines – have been in negotiations with their pilot groups for months, with the pandemic derailing talks as travel demand collapsed. FedEx pilots are also in contract talks.

“Getting our labor deals done is a very high priority for our people,” Southwest’s CEO Robert Jordan said on an earnings call on Thursday.

Pilots are in short supply and regional airlines, where the shortage is most acute, have raised wages sharply this year. Those hikes included American Airlines’ subsidiaries where pilots got 50% increases through August 2024.

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