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Alaska Airlines Pilots to Receive Pay Raise

Profiting by Foresight

Unions capitalizing upon a global shortage of qualified pilots amidst a prevailing and unprecedented spike in demand for air-travel have secured contracts entailing dramatic increases in pilot pay and improvements in air-crew quality-of-life at many world airlines.

Alaska Airlines pilots—by dint of a no-one-left-behind clause added in autumn 2022 to their contract with the Seattle-based air-carrier—will receive an 11.2-percent pay bump by which their wages will remain commensurate with those of pilots in the employs of competing airlines. In the absence of the aforementioned clause, Alaska Airlines pilots would have received only the four-percent pay-raise specified in the contract’s original language.

Alaska Airlines vice-president of flight operations Captain Dave Mets set forth in a message to the carrier’s 3,600 pilots: “This fantastic news combined with our aircraft order book, future growth plans, and industry-leading financial strength and stability further solidifies your careers and your family’s long-term security.”

Captain Mets called the upward wage adjustment “another huge investment by the company.”

Alaska Airlines ALPA Master Executive Council (MEC) chair Captain Will McQuillen reported Alaska’s pilots are pleased with the outcome.

Captain McQuillen remarked: “It’s very competitive and reflects a commitment by management to attract and retain pilots and to want to compete [with other airlines].”

Approximately one-year ago, Alaska became the first major airline to agree to a major post-COVID deal with its pilot union. The resultant three-year contract boosted pilot pay by up to 23-percent. From 01 September 2022, top-of-the-scale pay for Alaska Airlines Pilots In Command (PIC/Captain) was set at $306-per-flying-hour.

The contract stipulated, originally, that on 01 September 2023, the amount would rise to a princely $318.24. By virtue of the no-one-left-behind clause, however, Alaska Airlines’s top-of-the-scale PIC pay will presently jump to $340.25 per-flight-hour.

U.S. Part 121 airline pilots fly an average of 75-hours-per-month. The math is impressive.

Pay rates for the lower-strata of Alaska Airlines PIC and SIC pay will be adjusted upward in parallel by a minimum of 11.2-percent.

The described wage hikes fulfill a provision of 2022’s Alaska pilots contract—as negotiated in cooperation with ALPA—specifying the airline’s management would raise pilot pay as required to ensure the air-carrier’s most senior PICs earned an amount equal to the average take-home pay of their 737-MAX and Airbus A321neo-driving peers at United, American, Delta, Southwest, and JetBlue.

The idea was “we were never going to be left behind again,” quipped McQuillen.



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