American Airlines CEO Robert Isom said that the airline is prepared to match the pay rates and profit-sharing formula that Delta Air Lines has provided in its new pilot contract, including 40% cumulative increases in a potential four-year deal.
On March 1, 2023, Delta approved a four-year contract that will provide 34% raises for its pilots. The contract also included other quality-of-life improvements, setting the bar high for other airlines and unions.
Delta employees also earned $563 million in profit sharing in February 2023, after the airline reported strong earnings and a Full Year profit in 2022.
To match Delta’s agreement, Isom said that American pilots would receive on average pay increases of 21% in the first year of contract. Total pay increases in the fourth year of the contract deal would be 40%.
“Let me be clear, American is prepared to match Delta’s pay rates and provide American’s pilots with the same profit-sharing formula as Delta’s pilots,” Isom said in the message to pilots, sent on March 9, 2023, and seen by CNBC.
Isom said that an agreement could potentially include 21% pay increases in the first year of the contract. Factoring in higher 401(k) contributions by the end of a four-year deal, a pilot flying narrow-body planes would make $475,000 at the top of the scale, a $135,000 increase from current pay, while the most senior pilots of wide-body planes would make $590,000 per year, a $170,000 increase from current pay.
Captain Chris Pohl, an AeroTime Aviation Achievement Award recipient and senior pilot for Virgin Atlantic, recently took to Instagram to share his reflections on the fact that the global pilot shortage has placed pilots in a good position to negotiate for better salaries and conditions.