Envoy Air, American Airlines’ [NASDAQ: AAL] largest regional carrier, is offering pilots triple pay to pick up specific flights in July.
The incentive follows Envoy’s recent announcement of a 50 percent raise until August 2024 to address the airline’s shortage of pilots. The pay hike would essentially place Envoy pilots among the highest paid in the regional airline industry.
Although the carrier operates more than 160 Embraer jets and employs more than 2,500 pilots, Envoy projects it will lose as many as 300 pilots to American Airlines’ mainline fleet this year because of its flow-through program.
At the same time, American Airlines CEO Robert Isom recently told investors that its regional partners were forced to park up to 100 airplanes this summer because there weren’t enough pilots to fly them. The recent pay bump and this latest hike are targeted to stave off this season’s attrition.
Envoy is offering pilots up to 300 percent of their hourly rate, known as “‘super-critical coverage,”’ for any open time they pick up and fly during July.
“Envoy has had an extraordinary completion factor for the month of June,” the company said in a brief statement emailed to FLYING. “As part of the proactive strategy to run a reliable schedule during the peak summer travel season, Envoy is offering pilots triple pay to pick up uncovered trips on their days off in the month of July. This will only be offered if there are open trips available, and currently Envoy is fully covered with its flight schedule this summer.”
H2 Staying Ahead of Travel Disruptions
This will also allow the airline to minimize summer travel disruptions that have been the focus of so much attention, especially after multiple airlines canceled nearly 2,800 flights over Memorial Day weekend, leaving countless passengers stranded.
According to last week’s report by the U.S. Department of Transportation, consumer complaints against airlines have skyrocketed more than 300 percent above pre-pandemic levels.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met with airline leaders ahead of the July 4th holiday weekend to ensure they were doing all they could to prevent disruptions, according to The Associated Press. Buttigieg said his office would consider taking enforcement actions against airlines that do not adhere to consumer protection laws.
Meanwhile, the American Automobile Association said it expects this July 4th weekend to be the second busiest in highway travel since 2000, much of it driven by pent-up demand created by the pandemic. In terms of air travel, AAA is forecasting 3.5 million Independence Day passengers, based on ticket-sales data.
With Envoy’s July pay incentive, the airline is hoping to stay ahead of the curve, as pilots pick up trips on their days off to trigger that triple-pay clause. The clause will only be offered when open trips are available–not for trips within a pilot’s regular schedule. Airline pilots fly on average 75 hours a month, and cannot exceed more than 100 hours, per the FAA. They can work six days in a row and must take the seventh day off.