Sat, 09 Dec 2023

CHICAGO, Illinois: On September 29, the union representing United Airlines' pilots said its members had ratified a new four-year contract, which includes a significant pay increase and other benefits.

Some 82 percent of the airline's pilots voted to approve a new comprehensive working agreement, which will add more than US$10 billion of value to the existing contract, said a committee represented by the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA).

About 97 percent of eligible pilots participated in the ballot.

Under the new four-year contract, United's 16,000 pilots will receive a cumulative pay rise of 34.5 percent to 40.2 percent, better work-life balance, more sick leave days, more favorable work rules and holiday arrangements, and increased retirement benefits.

After many U.S. pilots left the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, staff shortages have been persistent and are expected to continue for years.

According to analysts at Jefferies, the U.S. has a shortage of some 10,000 pilots.

However, airlines are scrambling to raise staff levels amid a travel rebound, increasing pilots' bargaining power.

In 2022, ALPA rejected an offer from United, forcing the airline to improve it.

Earlier this year, Delta Air Lines' pilots ratified a new contract that includes over $7 billion in cumulative increases in wages and benefits over four years.

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