Alaska Airlines management and pilots have agreed on a new contract that should prevent a strike.

Alaska Airlines pilots have been fighting for a new contract

Major US airlines are trying to negotiate new contracts. During the first two years of the Pandemic, they didn't have a lot of leverage to negotiate, so this is a great time to try to get a new contract.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) has been trying to get a new contract for its pilots at Alaska Airlines for over three years now, but it was delayed due to the swine flu.

In May of 2022, Alaska Airlines pilots voted to authorize a strike due to the lack of a contract. Almost all of the Alaska pilots voted in favor of authorizing a strike, and only a small number voted against it.

There is a positive outcome after a long wait.

Alaska Airlines pilots have wanted a new contract

Basics of Alaska Airlines’ new pilot contract

Alaska Airlines pilot leaders approved a tentative agreement with management. The contract will need to be voted on by members in the coming weeks.

The chair of the Alaska Airlines ALPA Master Executive Council describes the contract.

“We are pleased, after three years, that we have reached an agreement addressing all the areas in which we’ve lagged our mainline carrier pilot peers for nearly a decade. Not only does this agreement recognize the crucial role pilots have played in the success of Alaska Airlines, it will also help our airline remain competitive in the industry.”

The new contract addresses compensation, job security, and schedule flexibility.

There will be a big change with pay. If the contract is approved, pilots will get a raise retroactive to September 1, 2022. If you're a captain or first officer, your pay will be based on your years of service.

The pay scale has been updated. First officers would get a pay increase.

New Alaska Airlines first officer pay rates as of September 2022

The pay scale for captains has been updated. The pay increase for captains is 14.9% and 23.1%.

New Alaska Airlines first officer pay rates as of September 2022

As of September 1, 2023, pilots will get a further pay increase.

Alaska Airlines pilot pay rates as of September 2023

As of September 1, 2024, there would be more pay increases.

Alaska Airlines pilot pay rates as of September 2023

These are large pay increases. An Alaska captain currently maxes out at $266.29 per hour, but as of 2024 they will be maxing out at $330.97 per hour, a 24% pay increase.

The contract contains some important provisions.

  • In the event pilots at other airlines get a better contract, Alaska pilots would be entitled to the average of the top pay scales of American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and United
  • Alaska Airlines pilots would have a proper scope clause, limiting how much flying can be outsourced — non-Alaska flying would be formally limited to up to 76-seat jets, and there would be protections for new codeshare partners, where Alaska would have to proportionally add more flying as well
  • Pilots would be getting an increased per diem, plus increased pay when flying international or on ETOPS routes

I would think that the Alaska pilots would approve this, but I don't know. It seems like there should be no strikes.

Alaska pilots will finally get a proper scope clause

Bottom line

If the new tentative agreement is approved by the pilots, they will see significant pay increases immediately, as well as additional pay raises over the next couple of years. New scope clause protections have been added to pilots.

Alaska has always been in a difficult position when it comes to pilot contracts. Pay scales can't be compared to the "big three" US carriers because Alaska Airlines doesn't have wide bodies. Alaska Airlines pilots want "big three" pay, while management tries to keep pay closer to competitors.

What do you think about the new contract for pilots?