United Airlines and pilots agree to a deal that increases wages by up to 40%

United Airlines pilots reached an agreement with the company on Saturday for a $10 billion contract that would increase wages by up to 40 percent over four years.

The proposed contract provides another major wage victory for US pilots after agreeing to a deal with Delta Air Lines in March. The big increases are a reflection of the pilot shortage in the United States and the strong recovery in demand for air travel.

In addition to higher compensation, the agreement provides better job security, work rules, vacation, retirement, and other benefits.

At a major airline like United, pilots easily earn six-figure salaries. Senior pilots, who typically fly larger aircraft on international routes, can earn several hundred thousand dollars a year.

In a statement, Chicago-based United said the deal would help its “United Next” strategy, an expansion plan that involves buying larger planes to increase the number of seats per flight in North America by nearly 30 percent. The number of premium seats per flight will increase by 75% by 2026.

“We promised our global pilots the industry-leading contract they deserve, and we’re thrilled we’ve reached an agreement,” said Scott Kirby, United Airlines CEO. books on the social network LinkedIn.

Union officials said the agreement was the result of four years of negotiations and represented a “historic” deal in the airline industry as demand for travel soared after a sharp decline during the height of the pandemic.

“The relentless dedication shown by United Airlines pilots over the past several years has ensured our solidarity, which has been instrumental in bringing about this historic agreement,” Capt. Garth Thompson, Chairman of the Principal Executive Board of the United Airlines International Airline Pilots Association, said in a statement. statement.

The Airline Pilots Association, the largest pilot association in the world, represents 74,000 pilots at 42 airlines in the United States and Canada, including 16,000 pilots at United Airlines.

The union and management will now complete the final language of the deal. The agreement must then be approved by a vote of the members of the pilots’ union, which is expected in the next several weeks.

In March, Delta agreed to a contract that will increase wages by 34 percent by 2026 and include improvements in scheduling, retirement and other benefits. The Delta deal raised the level of compensation and benefits for pilots.

The shortage of pilots is due to airlines reducing the number of pilots through acquisitions and retirements when air travel was greatly curtailed early in the pandemic. But with demand for flights increasing rapidly over the past year, airlines have increased pilot salaries and benefits as they hire thousands to fill depleted ranks.

Neeraj Chukchi Contribute to the preparation of reports.