United Airlines has reportedly offered its pilots the “richest” labor deal in history according to CEO Scott Kirby, a deal worth $8 billion, but pilots note there is still a wide gap between the two sides.
United Airlines Proposes $8 Billion Deal For Pilots
First reported by Bloomberg in an interview with Kirby and later confirmed by United, an offer has been put on the table that, per Kirby, exceeds the recent deal struck between Delta Air Lines and its pilots that will see senior widebody captains make up to $440/hour in gradual intervals over three years, a 34% raise over current levels.
“We have a deal on the table that would be industry-leading,”
Kirby refused to provide further details, beyond adding that it would add $8 billion in costs over the next four years.
United and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) have been negotiating on a weekly basis for several months, seeking to hash out the details of a new contract. While United has already publicly stated it will match Delta’s contract, details have yet to be worked on concerning fringe benefits and other matters not directly tied to wages.
This was underscored by ALPA, who responded to the news with a cautionary update of their own:
“We have disagreed with the company on the costing of items and they, in our opinion, have inflated many. We still have significant quality of work life [balance], sick leave, long-term disability issues open.”
This isn’t the first time Kirby has claimed an “industry-leading” deal is on the table:
— United Airlines Pilots (@UnitedPilots) May 24, 2023
These negotiations come at a time of strong demand for air travel and a forecast of record profit for the summer. Even so, Kirby has said that business travel is still lagging in 2023, perhaps representing a structural change in travel, although partially offset by increased demand for leisure premium travel.
United Airlines CEO Kirby has publicly stated United has now offered a pilot contract more lucrative than Delta recently struck with its pilots. Even so, it appears that the union representing pilots and United still have many details to hammer out before pilots vote on ratifying a new contract.
While economic tradewinds persist and core inflation remains a persistent concern, the resilient US economy makes this a golden opportunity to make up for years without a new contract.
image: @UnitedPilots / Twitter