JetBlue pilots give approval to contract extension with over 21% in raises
Last year, JetBlue agreed to a deal to buy Spirit Airlines. The pilots of the airline approved a fresh two-year contract that their union estimated to be valued around $463 million
JetBlue Airways pilots have given their approval to a contract extension as the airline industry tries to progress amid shortage of pilots and discussions with labour unions. Pilots have been demanding pay hikes and better work schedules as the travel sector is booming again after a slump during the coronavirus pandemic. As per a CNBC report, the JetBlue contract extension will see pilots get 21.5 percent pay hike in the next 18 months.
On the other hand, Delta Air Lines is negotiating with pilots as well. The contract under review includes pay increases of 34 percent over four years. It also has a one-time payment of 4 percent of 2020 and 2021 pay each, along with 14 percent of 2022’s salary. If approved, it could be the first major American airline to reach a deal with pilots. Other airlines that are still in talks with their pilots’ labour unions include Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines.
Coming back to JetBlue, the company agreed to buy Spirit Airlines last year. The Spirit Airline pilots approved a fresh two-year contract which their union estimated to be about $463 million. If the regulators do not approve the merger between JetBlue and Spirit, then the pilots’ union will go back into contract negotiations with the airline.
As mentioned in a report by CNBC, Capt. Chris Kenney, who chairs Air Line Pilots Association’s (ALPA’s) JetBlue arm, said, “We entered into these negotiations recognizing that mergers take time and our pilots couldn’t wait for the compensation improvements they have earned.” According to ALPA, a total of 95 percent of JetBlue’s pilots took part in the vote, and 75 percent of them approved the contract.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) told CNBC in December that it anticipates that the global airline industry will report a small net profit of $4.7 billion in 2023. According to the industry body, over 4 billion passengers are set to travel via flight this year.
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