One airline is taking massive steps at raising the pay for pilots flying for regional airlines.
Mesa Airlines has reached an agreement with the Air Line Pilots Association that will raise pay for first-year captains by a staggering 118 percent and 172 percent for new-hire first officers.
Starting in mid-September, the airline will pay new-hire first officers $100 per hour, while first-year captains will make $150 per hour. Officers with five to 10 years of experience will make $110 per hour.
Captains with 20 years of experience will make $215 per hour, under the terms of the agreement announced by the ALPA.
The new rates make Mesa the top-paying airline in the regional market.
“With strong competition in the regional industry, today’s LOA offers the compensation Mesa needs to remain competitive and attract and retain experienced, qualified pilots,” Chris Gill, Mesa ALPA Master Executive Council chair, said in a statement. “We’re happy to see management and our partners recognize the value of Mesa pilots.”
Mesa flies about 400 flights daily and flies partner planes branded as American Eagle, United Express, and DHL.
Mesa officials said the deal is necessary to try to keep the bigger airlines from poaching their pilots, something that has become a major issue in recent years.
Mesa Airlines CEO Jonathan Ornstein said his company has lost as many as 5 percent of the workforce in a single month.
“The pilot shortage is the single greatest threat to the industry I have witnessed since 9/11,” Ornstein told a Senate Commerce aviation subcommittee hearing in May, according to Business Insider.
Mesa has put the new agreement front and center on its website, touting the new rates as the top item on its home page to recruit pilots.
“Mesa Airlines is the perfect place to begin your airline career or grow as a professional,” the company says. “We are a diverse group of pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and corporate professionals.”