American Airlines pilots approve labor deal with big raises

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An American Airlines plane takes off from the Miami International Airport on May 02, 2023 in Miami, Florida. 

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

American Airlines pilots approved a sweetened labor deal, making the carrier the second major U.S. airline to seal a new contract with its highest-paid work group.

The more than 15,000 pilots at American will get immediate raises of 21% with compensation increasing more than 46% over the duration of the four-year contract, including 401(k) contributions, their union said Monday.

An earlier deal between American and the union fell apart after rival United Airlines and that carrier’s union reached a richer, preliminary deal. But American increased its offer last month.

American’s pilots voted more than 72% in favor of the new contract, and there was a 95% turnout, according to the Allied Pilots Association. The agreement also includes improvements in scheduling and benefits.

Pilots have been pressing airlines for better compensation and work rules as the industry faces a shortage of aviators in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

“This agreement will help American immediately expand our pilot training capacity to support under-utilized aircraft and future flying and provide our pilots with more opportunities to progress in their careers,” American’s CEO, Robert Isom, said in a statement.

Delta Air Lines pilots ratified a new agreement earlier this year.

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