The long-suffering lot of the regional airline pilot just got a lot better, as the ongoing pilot shortage has mandated another career upgrade for up-and-coming airline pilots.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) today (March 1) announced a new long-term contract with Cleveland-based CommutAir, a regional carrier 40 percent owned by United Airlines. With a fleet of more than 75 Embraer 145s, CommutAir operates around 1,500 weekly flights with hubs in Denver, Houston and Virginia’s Washington Dulles Airport.
Under terms of the new contract, wages for new first officers increased 30 percent to $51 per hour, while new captains will now earn $84 per hour, a 25 percent increase. There is a sign-on bonus program awarding up to $50,000 for direct-entry captains, with longevity credit of as much 50 percent for new hires who have Part 121 industry experience. CommutAir is also offering a commuting program that includes company-paid travel to and from pilots’ chosen home location and a 50 percent match on 401k retirement contributions up to 16 percent.
The contract includes a minimum-duty-period guarantee of four hours, full pay protection for canceled assignments, time-and-a-half holiday pay, 200 percent trip extension pay and pay increases for instructor pilots (line check airmen earn up to $30 per hour, override).
The new contract also includes “attractive” medical, dental and vision benefits, pilot access to Teladoc for vacation and sick-leave benefits, daily floating vacation with six days that can be rolled over or cashed out and improved sick leave accrual rates with buyback provision retirement benefits.
Rick Hoefling, CommutAir president and CEO, said, “As the industry recovers from the past two years of challenges, we believe we have a tremendous opportunity to see continued growth in our business. I want to thank the ALPA and CommutAir negotiating teams for their tireless dedication to arrive at a new contract that positions the Company and its pilots on solid footing for years to come.”
“Direct-entry captain?” Hello ALPA: What happened to seniority and carrier-specific line training?