United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has revealed to Bloomberg that a proposed pilot pay deal would add an additional $8 billion in costs over the length of the four-year contract.
The Chicago-based airline is still locked in contract talks with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) after its members resoundingly rejected a tentative pay deal last November. Kirby has admitted that the proposal “missed the mark” after initially claiming it would be “industry-leading”.
Since then, Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines have ratified new pay deals with their pilot groups, while American Airlines recently reached an agreement in principle with the Allied Pilots Association.
“We have a deal on our table that would be industry-leading,” Kirby told Bloomberg in a new interview after revealing that the two sides were meeting weekly in an effort to secure an agreement.
United Airlines is under pressure to get a deal over the line as the entire U.S. airline industry faces a pilots shortage that could take years to address.
The American Airlines pay deal is also estimated to be worth an additional $8 billion in costs over the length of the four-year contract, while Delta says its deal will add an additional $7 billion in costs over the contract.
Delta pilots, however, also have a ‘me too’ clause built into their contract, which means the airline will increase pilot pay to match any offer from a rival like United that beats their own deal.
Earlier this month, the leadership of United’s pilot union approved a strike authorization vote amongst its nearly 14,000-strong membership. Strike votes are a common negotiating tactic that was used by pilots at Alaska, Delta and American shortly before tentative deals were announced.
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.