American Airlines Pilot Contract Vote Up In The Air

By Spyros Georgilidakis | July 24, 2023

The American Airlines pilot union indefinitely postponed a vote to approve a contract deal, despite an improved offer from management.

Photo: Miguel Angel Sanz

Last week was quite busy for American Airlines and the Allied Pilots Association (APA). Earlier, United Airlines announced a 34.5-40.2% cumulative pay rise and other contract improvements for its 14,000 pilots. This agreement is around 2% better than what American Airlines and its pilots previously discussed.

This meant that the pilot union for American Airlines then raced to improve the terms of their contract, before a scheduled vote. As we’ve seen previously, APA and American Airlines initially agreed on a new four-year contract last April. The airline’s pilots were due to start voting on it today (Monday).

American Airlines Pilot Contract Vote Up In The Air
Photo: Alfred Gf

So last week was busy for American Airlines and the pilot union, as they tried to renegotiate the contract ahead of the vote. Last Friday, these efforts seemed to pay off, with American Airlines stating that it improved its offer to match that of United’s.

American Pilot Vote Postponed Indefinitely

This raised the value of the contract by more than $1 billion, to $9 billion. There are more improvements in other terms and conditions. However, over the weekend there were rumors that APA wasn’t entirely happy with these changes.

FedEx Pilots are also negotiating a contract with their employer. Photo: Nick Morales

This was confirmed late on Sunday, with the American Airlines pilot union indefinitely postponing the vote. As of this writing, the timing of the vote is unclear. In a separate development, FedEx pilots also rejected a proposed new contract, which amounted to a 30% pay increase.

We have seen that a pilot shortage offers more leverage to pilots, putting them at an advantage as they renegotiate their contracts. With many pilots and other aviation professionals worldwide suffering the effects of the pandemic, many in the industry feel that this is the time to reverse this trend.

American Airlines Pilot Contract Vote Up In The Air
Photo: Abdiel Hernandez Villegas

And with airlines posting respectable financial results in recent months, it’s hard to argue against pay raises. However, this airline resurgence is taking place while other industries face a recession, raising doubts about aviation’s longer-term prospects.



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