American Airlines CEO To Match Delta Pay


An American Airlines plane | Image by GagliardiPhotography/Shutterstock

American Airlines pilots are threatening a strike despite the company saying it will match Delta Airlines’ projected pay increases for its pilots in a four-year deal.

On Wednesday, Delta announced a deal with its 15,000 pilots to offer 34% cumulative pay raises and other quality-of-life improvements, according to CNBC. The agreement is the first one reached by a major airline and is seen as setting the standard for salaries in the industry.

American Airlines CEO Robert Isom told pilots it would raise their pay to match Delta’s deal, including 40% in cumulative increases in a potential four-year contract, according to NBC 5 DFW.

“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, according to NBC 5 DFW. Isom added that the American Airlines agreement could include 21% in pay increases for the contract’s first year.

Captains flying narrow-body planes would now make $475,000 at the top range of the scale, a significant jump from the $135,000 base currently. The most senior captains of wide-body planes would make $590,000 per year, an increase of $170,000 under the new deal, according to NBC 5 DFW.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, airline unions have also been calling for more predictable schedules for their pilots.

Isom says American Airlines will have better scheduling and “more certainty” on when pilots will fly, according to NBC 5 DFW.

The Allied Pilots Association (APA) has been negotiating with airlines for over three years to reach an agreement with American Airlines and is threatening a strike to speed up negotiations. The Association agreed unanimously this week to create a strike center and conduct a strike authorization vote by April 30, according to the APA.

“While our negotiating committee reports good progress, we remain steadfast and focused that now is the time to reach an agreement with American Airlines,” the APA said.

“We are cautiously optimistic of management’s commitments and presence at the table. APA remains committed to reach an agreement with American Airlines management in the near term, but every APA pilot understands actions speak louder than words, and we must prepare for any eventuality. These next few weeks are critical. We know that all members of the Allied Pilots Association will be closely watching how negotiations progress,” the APA said.

Amid the strike threats, American Airlines believes it can reach a deal with the APA soon.

“We believe a deal is within reach and can be negotiated expeditiously,” American Airlines spokeswoman Sarah Jantz said, according to The Dallas Morning News.

United Airlines and Southwest Airlines are also in contract negotiation talks. Southwest Airlines Pilot Association will hold a strike authorization vote on May 1, according to a CNBC report.

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