Pilots at American Airlines' third regional carrier get huge pay increase
Pilots at all three of American Airlines' wholly-owned regional airlines will now earn significant pay increases.
Pilots at PSA Airlines, which operates the Canadair Regional Jet, will see a pay increase similar to pilots at American's other two regionals, Envoy Air and Piedmont Airlines, it was announced on Thursday. Those two airlines inked similar deals between management and their unions late last week. Pilots at all three airlines are represented by Air Line Pilots Association bargaining units.
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In a joint letter, PSA's Vice President of Flight Operations Keith Stamper, and ALPA's Union Chairman Curt Ebbert called the deal a game-changer.
"This agreement will transform the compensation landscape for our industry, putting multiple, groundbreaking enhancements in place to address pilot attrition and strengthen our network," the letter said.
Like their peers at Envoy and Piedmont, new-hire PSA first officers will start at $90 an hour, which is the same starting rate for first officers at mainline American Airlines. First-year captains will make $146, also the same as at Envoy and Piedmont.
Those pay rates run through August 2024. If not extended at that time, pilots will see more modest raises over the current hourly rates, which start at $52 for first officers and $88 for captains.
One key difference between the deal at PSA and the deals at Envoy and Piedmont is the pay rate for line check airmen — specially trained pilots who help instruct and ensure proficiency in other pilots. PSA line check airmen will see a 200% pay credit and will move to the highest pay rate at the end of five years of service. At Envoy and Piedmont, line check airmen will earn $427.50 per hour while instructing, a whopping number that sent shockwaves through the ranks of pilots at mainline American.
More: Pilots at 2 of American Airlines’ regional airlines will see a massive pay increase
American's mainline pilots are represented by the Allied Pilots Association, and the union and management have been locked in difficult contract negotiations for years. The pay hikes at Envoy and Piedmont caused so much consternation among pilots that American's CEO Robert Isom recorded an explanatory video on Monday. The video was sent to pilots and seen by TPG.
In the video, Isom indirectly sought to allay concerns about how the pay rates for regional pilots would be similar to those of mainline pilots; he also recommitted the airline to negotiating what he called a competitive contract.
"As the pandemic wanes, the standard for compensation has gone up," Isom said. "And that's a good thing, certainly for our aviators, but equally so for our company."