With strikes threatened and ongoing picketing and other events at some airlines flying to Hawaii, Delta Airlines’ pilots have now joined Hawaiian Airlines’ and Alaska Airlines’ pilots in ratifying a new 4-year contract. That means that all three sets of pilots, 1,000 at Hawaiian, 2,900 at Alaska, and 15,000 at Delta, will now be on their way to unprecedented pay raises equal to 1/3 of their current compensation. That was announced Wednesday.
With those three airline pilot deals concluded, American, Southwest, and United are struggling, some more visibly than others, with contract negotiations still to be completed. Last year, Alaska Airlines pilots were the first to ratify their new three-year agreement.
Airline pilots to Hawaii will earn up to $448/hour and $400K+/year.
Depending on seniority and aircraft type, Hawaiian Airlines pilots will make up to $448 per hour. Alaska Air pilots will make up to $330 per hour. On the other hand, Delta pilots can earn up to $400 per hour. Annual pilot pay can be anywhere from $100K to 400+K. Each agreement is slightly different, with Delta’s deal, for example, more heavily weighted to things other than just the hourly rate.
Airline pilots left via early retirement, and hiring slowed.
Pilots were grounded during Covid when travel stopped, and many left the industry. There was a lull in hiring too. When travel returned faster than expected, an unforeseen and unprecedented shortage of pilots especially ensued.
Pilots have leveraged the shortage to get paid what they’d long wanted but could not achieve. The Chair of the Delta Master Executive Council, Darren Hartmann, said yesterday, “This industry-leading contract is the direct result of the Delta pilots’ unity and resolve. This contract recognizes the Delta pilots’ substantial contribution to our company’s success. We will now focus our efforts on ensuring all provisions are implemented and enforced.”
Strikes are threatened, and picketing is ongoing at some airlines flying to Hawaii.
Late last year, Delta pilots agreed to strike if negotiations didn’t yield a new contract they liked. Even low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines had to cough up a 34% pay increase to keep their pilots flying. UAL, on the other hand, is hiring 8,000 new pilots in a situation where the carrier said they would otherwise be unable to fly all their desired routes and frequencies.
Southwest Airlines pilots just had two high-visibility demonstrations. First, there was a protest during what was supposed to have been a company morale booster in Las Vegas. SWAPA (SWA pilots’ union) said members were “in full force,” reflecting their extreme displeasure with the back of pay talk progress as they “continue to fight for a contract worthy of the most productive pilots in the industry.” A second protest occurred during another rally attended by CEO Bob Jordan and ex-Hawaiian, now Southwest COO Andrew Watterson. We expect to see more disruptions take place this month.