Pilots Demand Higher Pay, Threaten to Strike

Published: 06-01-2016
Pilots at Hawaiian Airlines and other airlines are unhappy with their compensation.

Last Wednesday, dozens of
Hawaiian Airlines pilots gathered to picket at Honolulu International Airport and threatened to strike if negotiations continued to stall.

“We’re frustrated about our contract negotiations,” pilot Sheila Davis said. “There’s been a turning point where we feel that they’re dragging their feet at the bargaining table.”

With Hawaiian Airlines recording impressive profits, their pilots are seeking just compensation. Hawaiian Holdings reported a net profit of $51.5 million in just the first quarter of 2016, which nearly doubles their first quarter earnings of $25.9 million in 2015.

On May 17, the ALPA stated that 99 percent of pilots who voted agreed to allow representatives to call for a strike if needed. The union also announced that it would be sending $2 million to the pilots in preparation for the possible strike.

According to the airline, the asking price is too steep; the union is negotiating for a 52 percent increase in total compensation in the first year of the contract, which is a $74 million jump for just 600 pilots. However, the union claims that they are underpaid by up to 45 percent compared to pilots of other airlines.

“We are ready to strike if negotiations break down and the government allows a walkout,” said Hawaiian MEC Chairman Capt. Hoon Lee. “We need to see real progress from the company when we meet with them in June.”

Unfortunately, pilots at Hawaiian aren’t the only ones upset with the lack of pay. Earlier in May, pilots at Atlas Air, Southern Air, Polar Air, and ABX all joined Kalitta Air in authorizing their union to call for a strike, and a survey reported that over half of Allegiant Air’s pilots were dissatisfied with their compensation and were looking for new jobs.

Parent of Allegiant, Allegiant Travel Co., reported a net profit of $72 million in the first quarter of 2016, which was an 11 percent jump from the $64.9 reported in the first quarter of 2015.

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