Union seeks 20% pay increase for American Airlines’ pilots: Forbes

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The Allied Pilots Association (APA), representing up to 15,000 American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) pilots, is seeking a 20.4% pay increase over three years, according to the union’s new president Ed Sicher. 

In an interview with Forbes, Sicher emphasized that the airline had “been running my pilots ragged,” and said that alongside the pay raise the union is seeking better flight scheduling for its pilots. 

“If it’s less than 20%, I don’t think our pilots would accept it,” said Boeing 737 Captain Sicher, who took the APA role in July 2022. 

This news follows an earlier announcement made in late June 2022, where American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) put forward a new pay offer for its pilots, which included a base pay increase of 17% and other enhanced payments.    

In the earlier offer, CEO Robert Isom confirmed that its pilots were offered base pay increases of 16.9% through 2024, as well as increases to many other pay components such as per diem and training pay, and a 50% premium on all reassignments, which included reserves. 

However, Sicher told Forbes he reckons AA will accept its proposal for a 20.4% pay increase, highlighting that it is in management’s interest to get a deal within the next 30-60 days to achieve reliable scheduling before the fall and winter vacation periods. 

Sicher highlighted how the negotiations with American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) had disrupted talks at rival carrier United, where pilots had been offered a 14.5% increase. US airlines are scrambling to attract flight crew in light of a pilot shortage.  

The airlines “all keep looking at each other,” Sicher said. “Nobody wants to be first. If it’s too low you get a backlash.”  

The APA’s proposal consists of a 10% raise in the first year and a 5% annual raise in the following two years, with retroactive pay, which has remained an issue according to Sicher. 

Tight scheduling amidst a swift industry ramp-up and reduced staffing levels has been one of the major issues faced by the airline’s widebody and narrowbody pilots, Sicher explains. 

“It’s chaos,” emphasizes Sicher who says that pilots often must deal with rescheduling from the airline. 

Primarily, pilots operating to Charlotte experience consistent reassignments, says Sicher describing the situation as “musical first officers.” 

“In Charlotte, it’s 50/50 I will leave with the same first officer I came with,” he was quoted as saying. 

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