Sky Talk

American pilots approve new contract


Pilots approved a five-year contract on Friday.

With 94 percent turnout, the contract passed 66 percent to 34 percent, the Allied Pilots Association said on Twitter Friday morning.

The contract, which will cover pilots at both American and US Airways, includes 23 percent pay raises which are retroactive to December and annual increases of 3 percent starting in January through 2019. It does not include a profit-sharing plan, which pilots at Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines have in their contracts.

“Today’s results provide immediate and significant pay increases to our pilots, and represent another step forward in our integration,” said American president Scott Kirby in a statement “We are especially pleased that American is in a position to support pay increases that recognize the contributions of our pilots this early in our integration.”

By approving the contract, the pilots and American will avoid arbitration. However, the two sides still need to come up with a seniority integration list. That is expected by late 2015 or early next year.

“APA will now focus on further engagement with American Airlines management to address ongoing shortcoings in our contract,” said APA president Keith Wilson. “True culture change will require a contract commensurate with our status as the pilots who fly for the world’s largest carrier.”

Earlier this week, American announced record profits for its fourth quarter and earned $2.8 billion in 2014. American chief executive Doug Parker has said previously he believes employees would rather have permanent pay increases instead of profit-sharing plans which may or may not pay out.

The union had negotiated a profit-sharing plan in previous contracts, but it paid out only once as the airline struggled to make money after 2001. Union leaders negotiated away profit-sharing for a 2.5 percent wage increase in 2013 based on projections that then-US Airways Chief Executive Parker and his management team made for the merged company.

Union leaders had also hoped to improve work rules in the new contract, but proposals were rejected by management and were not included in the contract proposal.