The chief executive of American Airlines has appealed directly to his own pilots with an offer of a 21 percent hike in pay in a bid to get stalled contract talks over the line after more than two years of negotiations.
In a memo leaked by aviation insider JonNYC on Twitter, Robert Isom promised bumper pay rises, a ‘much-richer’ profit-sharing program, and an increase in 401(k) contributions as talks with the Allied Pilots Association (APA) reached the “homestretch”.
The unusual decision to bypass official negotiators and the pilot union comes just a week after aircrew at Delta Air Lines ratified a new four-year contract that Isom admits is “unprecedented” and “profoundly changes the economics of a Delta pilot’s career”.
“Let me be clear,” Isom told aircrew on Tuesday. “American is prepared to match Delta pay rates and provide American’s pilots with the same profit-sharing formula as Delta’s pilots”.
Isom claims that his deal would see pilots enjoy an average 40 percent bump in pay by year four of the contract which would result in a top-rated widebody aircraft Captain earning $590,000 a year – an increase of $170,000 more than what they earn at the moment.
For a top-rated Captain of a single-aisle aircraft, the increase would be slightly less at $135,000, resulting in an annual salary of $475,000.
Isom’s profit-sharing proposal would see the payout pool increase from 5 to 10 percent of pre-tax earnings, and up to 20 percent should AA earn more than $2.5 billion.
“A deal like this would be a game changer for our pilots. I would be worth more than $7 billion in incremental compensation, benefits and quality of life improvements over the terms of the four-year agreement,” Isom continued.
“This would allow you to join Delta’s pilots as the industry’s leaders in pay, but with more quality of life improvements unique to American Airlines”.
The Allied Pilots Association previously rejected a tentative agreement last November after American Airlines proposed a 19 percent pay rise spread out over the next two years.
At the time, the union said its members were seeking a pay rise of at least 20 percent.
Delta Air Lines made headlines last week after its pilots formally approved a new contract that had been tentatively agreed last December. Under the deal, pilots receive an immediate 18 percent pay rise, then a 5 percent increase in the second year, and a 4 per cent rise in years three and four.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.