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Hawaiian Airlines Pilots To Receive Pay Hike Up To $448/Hour

Hawaiian Airlines and their nearly 1,000 pilots, as represented by their Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) Union, have tentatively agreed on a new 4-year employment agreement. It includes hefty pay increases in addition to bonuses and better flexibility in scheduling. The agreement also provides industry-leading pay rates for pilots in the new Amazon cargo operations, which starts this fall. A final vote to approve the contract is set to take place beginning January 27.

Hawaiian Airlines pilot pay hike is 32.9%

The tentative agreement features a 32.9% pay increase spread over the four contract years. That will come in the form of an immediate 16.6% average pay increase on the date of signing. Sign-on and other bonuses for pilots, increased company contributions to retirement plans, increased scheduling flexibility, and a new health reimbursement plan are also included.

ALPA union president Larry Payne, a Hawaiian Airlines pilot, said today, “We believe this industry-standard agreement represents a monumental step forward in terms of overall compensation and quality of life gains.”

How do airline pilots get paid?

This part is fascinating. Pilots typically earn a base salary without regard to flight hours, plus flight pay itself. In addition, pilot pay may vary on whether they are performing flight planning, preparing paperwork, checking the aircraft, or whether the plane is taxiing or in the air. There may also be specific pay allowances, such as per diem.

Pay is based on experience level and the type of plane they are flying. So a Hawaiian A330 pilot will typically earn more than a Boeing 717 pilot.

We reported previously that Hawaiian Airlines pilots were said to earn on average from $227/hour to $337 per hour depending on seniority and aircraft type. That is before the 33% pay increase associated with the tentative agreement. If approved, that would bring pilot pay at Hawaiian Airlines to between $302 to $448/hour over the next four years.

We certainly don’t begrudge Hawaiian pilots the amount they are paid. They are responsible for the lives of all of us when we travel, and there’s tremendous training and experience involved.

Hawaiian/Amazon cargo tie-up exceeds other carriers’ pay for pilots.

Top-of-the-industry pay for the crew on the new Hawaiian Airlines/Amazon cargo deal is also featured in the contract. They will now make more than comparable positions at FedEx and UPS.

The pilots’ agreement is comprehensive of all aircraft in Hawaiian’s fleet, including the interisland Boeing 717 and the mainland and international Airbus A321neo and Airbus A330-200. It will also cover the soon-to-be-acquired Boeing 787 Hawaiian Dreamliner fleet.

Following likely ratification, the agreement will go into effect in March.

Our take on the timing of this critical Hawaiian Air pilots’ deal.

This news comes following the announcement that Delta pilots have also reached a tentative agreement featuring a huge pay increase. And just one day after Southwest pilots warned of a potential strike there, the union said,

We want to “Give our customers time to book elsewhere so that they may have confidence in their summer vacations, honeymoons, and family outings.” — SW Pilots’ Union president.

Last month, United’s CEO said that the Delta contract would set the pattern for the entire industry. Based on today’s news, that became true. Scott Kirby said about the Delta deal, “It’s a rich contract, but I think the really good news is it means we’ll all get deals done essentially on the same terms and can move forward.”

The Hawaiian Airlines deal is somewhat of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the airline is loath to increase its expenses significantly while it is just at the beginning of recovery from the collapse of its international business since Covid. On the other hand, having this big deal behind them means they can move forward with greater confidence as a company and about these most critical employees.

Who’s footing the bill? Consumers via higher airline ticket prices.

Undoubtedly, these much higher pilot wages and benefits at Hawaiian, Delta, and all the other airlines, will be passed through to Hawaii visitors buying airline tickets.

What’s your take on big salary wage increases for pilots?

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29 thoughts on “Hawaiian Airlines Pilots To Receive Pay Hike Up To $448/Hour”

  1. Airline pilots don’t necessarily get paid a “salary”. Instead, pilots are paid per flight hour. Meaning a pilot is only paid while their airplane is running.

    1. Not “only” while their airplane is running — but sometimes for how many you’re away from base on a multi-day schedule (a.k.a. trip rig). This is to prevent airline companies from sending you down-line and letting you “sit” for X number of days w/out flying and not having to pay you more than the scheduled trip hours might guarantee.

      A contract may state that a pilot will be paid a minimum of 1.0 hours credit for every 3.0 hours away from domicile, for example.

      In airline lingo, a “trip rig” is a protection written into the pilot contract to provide additional compensation under certain conditions. These conditions are designed to make sure you are fairly compensated for working longer shifts, being away from home more, etc.

      1. Only getting paid when pushing back from the gate till chocks in at the arrival gate, (Block Time). So while the main cabin door is open, the Pilots and Flight Attendants are on a sit or helping passengers they aren’t getting paid. Maybe that’s Captains getting the $200-$300 and hour but the Co-Pilots start at $88 an hour 1st year, a lot better than what they started out previously ($36/hr), worse than regional airline pay. Check out airlinepilotcentral.com

  2. Perhaps the shareholders will be ok with reducing their dividends instead of raising ticket prices. What am I thinking! 😵‍💫No chance of that happening.

  3. I think they needed an increase but it’s a little much. How about the ground crew who makes it all work or the flight attendances.

  4. I’m happy the Hawaiian crew is getting paid more and it will lift the boat for the entire industry.

    As for pilots, the high demand for low supply means they were able to negotiate these huge increases. It would be good if the increases were paid mostly by cutting pay for the executives who are ultimately responsible for the problems.

    1. The airlines would save millions if they set up free flight schools and trained thousands of pilots every year. Many people could learn to do the job, but don’t have the opportunity.

      1. Some have started trainingn programs, not to save money, it was much cheaper for airlines to hire pilots from the military or who got their flight time on their own dime for years but that is now not enough. The reason is to make money, they are short on pilots so a few airlines have pilot training programs at great expense to help the problem. Part of the shortage is increased FAA requirements from mishaps, aging pilot workforce retiring, early retires.. SWA has ~100 planes on the ground short of pilots to fly them. The amount of time it takes to get the hours required in the types of aircraft required is very expensive. About as much to become a doctor and about as much or more time, although pilots have a few more lives at stake.

    2. So often the case. If you warm an office chair, you are worth more than those who actually do the work. Look at the teaching profession for a great example. I choose “flyin’ Hawaiian” over others because of the Aloha that oozes from the cockpit to the galley and back. It means a stop in Honolulu and a plane change on to Kauai, but worth every extra minute. So pleased that these gains are being made and happy to support.

  5. Based on airline pilots working 80 hours /month at $433/hr, that pilot will make $430,090. Per year.

    At $233/hour, the low end of the range, that pilot would make $290,000 /yr.

    Sign me up….

  6. $448/hour is Nuts. Doing the math @40 hours/week (x) 50 weeks per year = $896,000 per year. That’s 2-3 Times the pay of Hawaii’s Doctors, including Surgeons! That’s also far more than Hawaii’s attorneys get paid. Why is there a decades-long shortage of Doctors in Hawaii? The bottom line is the bottom line ($$), due in large part to Hawaii’s largest health insurance company limiting & chronically delaying their payments to Hawaii’s Doctors, for decades. That is my personal observation from 40+ years in the profession here in Hawaii.

    1. Airline pilots don’t work 40 his pet well. Last I checked, ALPA, the Airline Pilots union maxed them out at 80 hours per month.

    2. Sorry … your math and you are completely wrong.

      Airline pilots are paid by the flight hour/month – I don’t know the current “minimum” at HAL, but it is probably in the 70 hour/month range. That would be a contract “minimum” for pay purposes, whether you flew a schedule or were on reserve. Their pay also depends on seniority, seat position, and aircraft type.

      The $448/hour would be a Captain with seniority on their biggest plane.

      70 hours (average) X $448/hour = $31,360/month X 12 months = $375,320 annually.

      That’s still a LOT of money, but considering I made $250/hour as a B-747 Captain flying out of Honolulu 20 years ago — I’d say they were doing “well”. Plus, Doctors and lawyers get to go home at night. Pilots don’t …

    3. Thanks for your comment, but your assumptions are off. Airline pilots are paid by the flight hour/month – I don’t know the current “minimum” at HAL, but it is probably in the 70 hour/month range. That would be a contract “minimum” for pay purposes, whether you flew a schedule or were on reserve. Their pay also depends on seniority, seat position, and aircraft type.

      The $448/hour would be a Captain with seniority on their biggest plane.

      70 hours (average) X $448/hour = $31,360/month X 12 months = $375,320 annually.

      That’s still a LOT of money, but considering I made $250/hour as a B-747 Captain flying out of Honolulu 20 years ago — I’d say they were doing “well”. Plus, Doctors and lawyers get to go home at night. Pilots don’t …

      1. Roger that; unless the company gets a waiver from the FAA to exceed 1000 hours/year. Always those “exceptions” … (smiles)

        For example, during Desert Shield/Desert Storm we (all airline companies that participated) got waivers to fly crews over the annual 1000 hour maximum because of the “national emergency” and operational necessity while assigned CRAF flying (CRAF = Civil Reserve Air Fleet) when ferrying troops and equipment to/from the Gulf ..

        BTW … flying those young troops (Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force) was the most rewarding flying I ever did in nearly 30 years in the airlines.

        1. You, focus on what the Pilots get paid. If, they can pay them that much. How much are the CEOs and Board Members getting along with Bonuses and not accountable for their bad decisions. But, get paid Bonuses anyways. The Front Line Employees get less and the Passages also pay the price. Let me put it this way. No Business ever failed because of what the Employees are paid. It, false because of over Management, meaning too many layers of Management. And, bad decisions made by them. Best, to you Pilots.

  7. It would sure be nice if the work group that actually made the airlines their money, the mechanics, were paid like this for the amount of work they do and responsibility they have on their shoulders

    1. Does anyone remember Pan Am? How about US Airways, Aloha Airlines, Island Air etc. Well, they all went bankrupt. Think it can’t happen to Hawaiian Airlines? Drastic price increases to the consumer won’t help, but it will help get less people to the islands which is what many wanted.

        1. America West Airlines
          2005 – Acquired US Airways. The merger was renamed US Airways.

          American Airlines
          1971 – Acquired Trans Caribbean Airways
          1987 – Acquired Air California
          1990 – Acquired the Eastern Air Lines’ route network from Miami to Latin America and the Caribbean
          1997 – Acquired Reno Air
          2001 – Acquired Trans World Airlines
          2013 – Acquired US Airways, becoming the world’s largest carrier.
          2019 – Purchased a 3% stake in China Southern Airlines.

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