An airline is offering more than $180,000 in potential bonuses to recruit and retain pilots amid a massive shortage

Piedmont Airlines, American Airlines' wholly owned subsidiary, is offering retention bonuses up to $180,000
According to the carrier, Captains and upgrading first officers will be eligible for a $30,000 bonus.

Envoy Air and PSA Airlines offer hefty bonuses with potential earnings of $150,000

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Retention bonuses can be earned by pilots working at American Airlines' regional carrier Piedmont Airlines.

Piedmont's new retention program Elevate Pilot Careers offers current and potential flight crew members a generous bonus for their commitment to the company. The tentative agreement was reached in partnership with Air Line Pilot Association (the largest pilot union worldwide, representing more than 60,000 crewmembers) and company management. Piedmont stated that the program was designed to provide stability for pilots working in an industry that is still dealing with the uncertainty from the pandemic.

"Piedmont has made a huge investment in our company and our pilot team. Piedmont CEO Eric Morgan stated that this is a significant step towards building a sustainable, post-pandemic airline that can thrive long into the future.

Current employees can expect a large payout. This includes $30,000 immediately for all Captains, and $30,000 for First officers who are promoted to Captain.

Piedmont pilots who are hired by American through Piedmont's flow programme or without it will be paid $70,000 All pilots employed at Piedmont will be guaranteed a job at American once they have completed one year of service, which is known as a flow. Eligible pilots can "opt in" or out of the flow each month. The most senior employees will then be sent to American. According to Piedmont, pilots from Piedmont fly to the mainline carrier on average after five years of service.

Crew members with qualifying hours in the preceding calendar year can earn as much as $50,000 over two years. Each pilot must work at least 900 hours each year to be eligible for the bonus. Pilots at Piedmont must work at least 900 hours per annum to be eligible.

Pilots can be eligible for multiple incentives according to the airline. Pilots hired from Piedmont who complete their minimum hours within two years can be eligible for up to $182,500 in bonuses.

"Piedmont pilots performed admirably throughout the pandemic and consistently led all regionals in American Airlines' regional partner portfolio. They have been a great help to Piedmont and all our customers during this time. This has allowed us to continue our flying and to take on additional routes as travel demand increased. "We are proud to see them continue their careers at American as Piedmont welcomes a new group to begin their journey," stated Steve Keefer, Piedmont's vice-president of flight operations.

Piedmont's pilot union ALPA stated that it wants to attract "best and brightest" pilots with competitive pay and benefits. It also offers opportunities for career advancement and generous bonuses.

"ALPA was happy to work with Piedmont management to create this industry-leading agreement that will ensure that our airline remains attractive to pilots entering the profession and that we reward those who stay within American Airlines family," stated Captain Brandon Lighty, Piedmont ALPA Master Executive Council Chair.

ALPA also reached an agreement to pay a raise for 673 Piedmont pilots effective November 1. ALPA claims that the increase will bring American's salaries in line with those of its other wholly-owned carriers Envoy Air, PSA Airlines and others.

Insider has seen emails from AA subsidiaries Envoy Air, and PSA Airlines, which reveal that they will offer a $150,000 retention program. Emails from the companies stated that $30,000 would be given to captains and first officers who are upgrading. They also offered incentives to flow into AAA, but didn't give a dollar amount.