After rejecting a proposed 19% increase in November, American Airlines pilots (AA) and Allied Pilots Association (APA) members have voted in favor of a new contract for the 2023-2027 period. For the duration of the four-year contract, accumulated pay rises suggest that pilot compensation rates are set to rise by over 46%.
The agreement follows informational picketing by pilots that called for better employee benefits and reliable schedules. Picket signs also expressed solidarity with passengers, one reading “frustrated with AA? So are we!”. The APA also induced pressure via a social media campaign where pilots shared their grievances on twitter using the hashtag #frustrAAted.
Nearly 200 pilots participated in informational picketing at LAX today, sending a clear message to management that it’s time to finalize a new contract that will position American Airlines for long-term success (@photojscho). pic.twitter.com/wkrNJnAnTw
The APA had laid out their principal complaints with the airline in an open letter to AA CEO Robert Isom earlier this year. The letter, published in the Dallas Morning News, questions AA’s “chronic underperformance,” stating that the airline has been “plagued by delays, cancellations, and lost baggage.” Scheduling provisions, disability benefits, and compensation were all stated to be “inferior” to those offered by rival airlines.
The letter also questioned the airline as a choice for consumers, implying that without substantial change they could not see it succeeding in the long term.
We published an open letter to American Airlines CEO Robert Isom in today’s edition of The Dallas Morning News. pic.twitter.com/qQtYFw5SIQ
Our work is not finished: the APA promises to remain “laser-focused” on improvements
On August 21st, the APA purported in a press release that the newly agreed contract would deliver over nine billion dollars of compensation and benefits to AA’s 15,000 pilots. 72.7% of pilots approved the new agreement, with 95% of union members participating in the vote. The contract promises $1.1 Billion in immediate one-time payments and bonuses. The press release notes that enhanced work rules, in particular, will combat previously identified issues with scheduling and delays. Additionally, the contract features improved disability and life insurance benefits in addition to vacation benefits.
Captain Ed Sicher, the president of the APA and AA pilot, gave his thanks and congratulations to his negotiating team and fellow pilots. Capt. Sicher also asserted this was not the end – he and the APA would continue to push for further change in the field. Negotiation for contract amendments in August 2027 are set to begin as early as in November 2026.
“Make no mistake – our work is not finished, and we will remain laser-focused on maintaining the momentum we have achieved for the betterment of our members, the airline pilot profession, and the passengers we serve.”
American Airlines congratulates to its pilots
AA also released a statement regarding the new contract. On Monday the 21st, Mr. Isom shared his satisfaction with the news of the agreement, focusing especially on career progression.
“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.”
Mr. Isom also offered his personal congratulations to Captain Sicher in the letter, commending him for his leadership in the bargaining process.