Delta Pilots Press for 40 Percent Pay Hike

Delta pilots are trying to negotiate a 40 percent pay raise compounded over three years. Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Line pilots are seeking a big pay raise after the company posted record profits last year, seemingly recovering from its bankruptcy filing in 2005.

The pilots are seeking a 40 percent pay hike compounded over three years, which their union says would bring their salaries back to levels seen in 2004, according to CNNMoney.

Pilots took pay cuts in an attempt to keep Delta and Northwest Airlines, which merged with Delta, out of bankruptcy, and again during the bankruptcy process.

Today Delta pilots’ average base pay is $185,000. The average base pay for starting first officers is $68,000, and senior captains earn about $261,000, said Kit Darby, a pilot pay expert. That’s less than what they’d make at United and American and major cargo carriers such as FedEx and UPS. The new deal would make Delta pilots the airline industry’s best paid.

Delta pilots rejected a deal between the union and management last spring that would have given them a 22 percent raise over three years.

The union today will ask federal mediators to join negotiations. Union leaders said they hope to reach a deal by summer.


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