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.