JetBlue pilots approve contract extension and increase


JetBlue (Embraer 190) passenger jet taxis at New York LaGuardia Airport, New York.

Robert Alexander | Photos | Getty Images

Jet Blue Airways Pilots have approved a contract extension that will increase 21.5% over the next 18 months as the industry reverses slow progress on labor agreements amid a pilot shortage.

JetBlue reached an agreement to buy the low-cost carrier last year Spirit Airlines. The airline’s pilots union approved a new two-year contract valued at about $463 million. If the merger is not approved by regulators, the union will restart contract negotiations with the airline.

“We entered into these negotiations recognizing that the merger will take time and that our pilots cannot wait for the compensation improvements they have won,” said Capt. Chris Kenney, chairman of the airline’s JetBlue branch. Pilots Association in a press release.

Ninety-five percent of JetBlue pilots participated in the vote, and 75 percent approved the contract, ALPA said.

Many negotiations between airlines and unions have become strained as pilots seek better hours after higher wages and the pandemic crisis put a damper on the travel boom. A shortage of aircraft and high demand from large and small airlines have also limited the ability of airlines to grow.

Delta Airlines15,000 pilots will consider a contract offer that includes a 34% pay increase over four years. If approved, it would be the first major US airline to sign an agreement with pilots.

United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines negotiations are still ongoing with the pilots’ unions.

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