Southwest Airlines pilots back new contract for 44% salary increase by 2028

Southwest Airlines pilots new contract
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Southwest Airlines pilots have unanimously backed a new contract that will see their pay increase by 44% through December 2028.  

The agreement, which has been over three years in the making, was accepted by 92.73% of Southwest pilots with nearly 99% of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) members voting.  

The SWAPA confirmed on January 22, 2024, that its members accepted the proposed deal which was first put to them in December 2023.  

“This has been a long time coming and it is only through the unity of our pilot group that we were able to achieve the gains in this contract,” SWAPA President Captain Casey Murray, said. “This new CBA will bring our pilots the security and protections that have been long needed.” 

Included in the new contract is an immediate increase in salary of 29.15% once the deal is ratified, followed by a 4% raise in 2025, 2026, and 2027, and a further 3.25% in 2028. 

The contract also contains new terms surrounding pilot scheduling, maternity and paternity leave, disability coverage and increases to retirement benefit.  

Murray added: “The implementation of this contract will take some time to get right but we will work with Southwest to make sure that all the changes that improve our pilots’ quality of life take place as quickly as possible.” 

Southwest also lauded the agreement which will improve conditions for nearly 11,000 of its pilots.  

“Our pilots are world-class aviators who uphold Southwest’s commitments to safety, hospitality, and connecting people to what’s important in their lives,” Adam Carlisle, Vice President Labor Relations at Southwest Airlines, said. “This agreement justly rewards our pilots and supports our operational needs.” 

Southwest has worked with nine unions since October 2022 to ratify new agreements for staff including customer service agents, dispatchers, flight instructors and meteorologists. 

However, Southwest remains in negotiations with two unions, including the Transport Workers Union (TWU) which represents over 15,000 flight attendants.  

Delta, United Airlines and American Airlines all ratified new pilot contracts in 2023 which saw aviators receive bumper pay increases. 

As the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues at pace the need for new pilots in the United States (US), and the rest of the world, has surged.  

As airlines clamor to recruit new pilots the number of benefits and salaries being offered to potential employees are at an all-time high. 

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