United Airlines and pilots agree to increase salaries by up to 40% in deal

United Airlines and pilots agree to increase salaries by up to 40% in deal

United Airlines pilots on Saturday signed a $10 billion contract with the company that will see pay increases of up to 40 percent over the four years of the contract.

The proposed contract offers another big pay win for pilots in the United States, after a deal with Delta Air Lines was approved in March. The substantial increase is a reflection of the shortage of pilots in the United States and a strong recovery in demand for air travel.

Apart from higher compensation, settlement provides better job security, work rules, leave, retirement and other benefits.

At a major airline like United, pilots easily earn six-figure salaries. The most senior pilots, who typically fly larger aircraft on international routes, can earn several hundred thousand dollars a year.

In a statement, United, which is based in Chicago, said the deal would help its “United Next” strategy, an expansion plan that includes using larger planes to increase the number of seats per flight in North America by about 30 percent. Purchase included. and the number of premium seats per flight to 75 percent by 2026.

“We promised our world-class pilots the industry-leading contracts they deserved, and we are pleased to have reached an agreement,” said Scott Kirby, chief executive of United Airlines. wrote on the social media network LinkedIn.

Union officials said the agreement was the result of four years of negotiations and represents a “historic” deal in the airline industry as travel demand rebounds after a steep decline during the height of the pandemic.

“The tireless dedication displayed by United pilots over the past several years has ensured our solidarity, which has been instrumental in achieving this historic agreement,” Captain Garth Thompson, president of the Master Executive Council of the United Air Line Pilots Association International, said in a statement. statement,

The Air Line Pilots Association, the world’s largest airline pilot union, represents 74,000 pilots at 42 airlines in the United States and Canada, including 16,000 pilots for United Airlines.

Now the union and management will complete the final language of the deal. The agreement must be approved by a vote of pilots’ association members, which is expected to take place over the next several weeks.

In March, Delta approved a contract that increases pay by 34 percent through 2026 and includes improvements to scheduling, retirement and other benefits. Delta’s deal raised the bar for pilot compensation and benefits.

The pilot shortage is a result of airlines reducing pilot numbers through buyouts and retirements, when air travel was cut significantly at the start of the pandemic. But with demand for airline flights rapidly increasing over the past year, carriers are boosting pilot pay and benefits as they hire thousands to fill the short ranks.

-Neeraj Choksi Contributed reporting.

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