Pilot Retirement News
American Airlines pilots approve new contract, with nearly two thirds in favor

By Terry Maxon January 30, 2015

American Airlines pilots have approved a new five-year contract that gives them 23 percent pay raises this year and 3 percent pay raises on Jan. 1 for the next five years.

The Allied Pilots Association said 65.68 percent voted in favor of the deal, with 34.32 percent against. Of those eligible, 94 percent cast votes. Only the Miami pilot base had a majority voting against the deal.

American thanked the pilots, while the union said the airline needs to address “shortcomings” in the new contract.

“Today’s results provide immediate and significant pay increases to our pilots, and represent another step forward in our integration,” AA president Scott Kirby said 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.”

Kirby also thanked APA president Keith Wilson, other national officers, the APA board and the union and company negotiating teams.

Wilson thanked the pilots for their participating, noting the high voter turnout.

“By voting in favor of the JCBA, our pilots will benefit from higher pay rates. In effect, the pilots of American Airlines made a business decision,” Wilson said in a statement.

“APA will now focus on further engagement with American Airlines management to address ongoing shortcomings in our contract. Our total compensation will still trail industry-leader Delta, while work rules affecting our pilots’ quality of life need meaningful improvement. There’s a lot of work remaining to achieve the industry-leading contract our pilots deserve,” Wilson said.

“True culture change will require a contract commensurate with our status as the pilots who fly for the world’s largest carrier,” he said.

The decision avoids a scenario in which the Allied Pilots Association contract combining US Airways and American Airlines pilots under a single agreement would have gone to binding arbitration.

In a regulatory filing Jan. 12, American said the pilot contract would increase its cost by $650 million in 2015, and it would incur another $50 million in December 2014 costs because the pay raises would be retroactive to Dec. 2.

The new contract combined three contracts into a single collective bargaining agreement for pilots of American and US Airways, which merged in December 2013.

American pilots were operating under a contract forced on them in late 2012 in American’s bankruptcy proceedings. US Airways pilots were operating under two contracts – one for the pilots of America West, which merged in September 2005 with US Airways, and one for the pre-AW merger US Airways.

Friday’s win for American follows December’s approval of a new contract combining flight attendants at the two carriers.

In that case, Association of Professional Flight Attendants members voted down a joint collective bargaining agreement that would have increased the value of their contracts by $193 million.

The dispute went to binding arbitration, which established a contract worth $112 million. But APFA president Laura Glading appealed to American executives to consider giving flight attendants the extra $81 million, notwithstanding the vote.

American management agreed to the same contract the flight attendants had rejected after the APFA board voted unanimously to sign off on the deal.

NOTE: The pay raise has been variously described as a 24 percent or a 23 percent pay raise. We’ve changed its description to conform with AA’s most recent description.

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