Pilots at Southwest Airlines have voted overwhelmingly to approve a new four-year contract, which will lock in a pay-rate increase of more than 44% over the course of the agreement.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) reached an agreement in principle with the airline in December 2023 following more than three and a half years of negotiations.
On a turnout of nearly 99% of pilots, 92.73% voted in favor of the deal, while 7.27% voted against the agreement, the union announced shortly after the poll closed on Monday.
The 11,000 pilots at the Dallas-based carrier will get an immediate 29.15% pay rise, followed by 4% raises in 2025, 2026 and 2027. In the final year of the agreement, pilots will receive a smaller 3.25% pay rise.
A deal between the union and the airline was only reached after 99% of pilots voted in favor of taking strike action if an agreement couldn’t be reached.
Along with bumper pay rises, the union has also locked in a slew of lifestyle improvements, although SWAPA president Captain Casey Murray warned pilots that it could take some time to implement some of the changes.
“The implementation of this contract will take some time to get right,” commented Murray on Monday. “But we will work with Southwest to make sure that all of the changes that improve our pilots’ quality of life take place as quickly as possible.”
“I want to offer a sincere thank you to our pilots for their support and backing over the last few years,” Murray continued.
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.