Piedmont Airlines, Envoy Air pilots receive pay increase amid worker shortage

Two American Airlines-owned regional airlines — Piedmont Airlines and Envoy Air — are giving their pilots 50% pay raises through August 2024 amid struggles to retain pilots.

The airlines will also offer permanent pay increases on top of the temporary boosts, bringing the pay for newly hired first officers in their first year of flying to $90 an hour, a jump from the previous rate of $51 an hour. First-year captains’ hourly wages will be $146 an hour, up from $78 an hour.

American Airlines

New York, USA – July 10, 2015: An America Airlines plane sitting at gate 39 at JFK airport late in the day as ground crew finish up before take off. (iStock)

Airlines have been on pilot hiring sprees since last year as travel demand began to rebound from COVID-19 pandemic lows. Carriers are looking to recover from their lost ranks after airlines encouraged pilots in 2020 to take early retirement because of the dip in demand during the beginning of the pandemic.

Now, airlines are left with a shortage, which has stiffened the competition for attracting pilots.

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The increase in pay for the two airlines’ pilots follows each carrier reaching an agreement with their pilot unions.

American Airlines

An American Airlines Boeing 777 plane takes off from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy-en-France near Paris, France, December 2, 2021. (Reuters/Sarah Meyssonnier/File Photo / Reuters Photos)

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Piedmont has been losing about 25 pilots a month to American Airlines’ mainline and has failed to reach its goal of hiring about 40 pilots each month. The airline usually flies between smaller cities but has not been able to use 10 of its roughly 60 planes, according to CNBC.

Envoy, meanwhile, has about 2,000 pilots but has lost about 80 pilots a year to other airlines while only hiring about 60.

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JetBlue and Spirit Planes

A JetBlue airliner lands past a Spirit Airlines jet on taxi way at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport on Monday, April 25, 2022. (Joe Cavaretta/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images / Getty Images)

This comes as some of the largest pilot unions, which represent more than 35,000 pilots at American, Southwest, Delta and JetBlue, are negotiating with their employers.

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American, which has about 14,000 pilots, recently offered a 4% pay raise at the time of signing that would be followed by a 3% increase in the next year.

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