WestJet, pilots in tentative agreement for 24% hourly allowance for 4 years, doc shows From Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A WestJet sign at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada on February 5, 2019. REUTERS/Ben Nelms

Allison Lampert

MONTREAL (Reuters) – WestJet Airlines pilots will receive a 24% per hour surcharge for four years and other payments and benefits under a preliminary agreement reached in May, according to a copy seen by Reuters on Friday.

A preliminary agreement was reached between WestJet Onex Corp and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) less than 24 hours before the start of an expected strike by Canada’s second-largest air carrier.

The deal, pending approval by WestJet pilots, is expected to put pressure on Air Canada as the bigger competitor faces calls from its pilots to close the earnings gap with higher-paid aviators in the United States.

North American pilots are pushing for higher pay and better schedules after US aviators made big headway in a recent deal with Delta Air Lines (NYSE:) that provides a 34% pay increase in four years.

In addition to the 24% increase, the WestJet deal also includes payroll arrears until January 1, as well as additional benefits and a restructuring of pension funds, according to a summary previously reported by the Canadian press.

The 4,500 Air Canada pilots who joined ALPA this month are estimated to have to decide by Monday whether to stay within the 10-year agreement reached in 2014 or use some sort of exit clause to enter into full negotiations this year. year.

Air Canada, which is currently not negotiating, said it is honoring the 10-year contract.

After 11 years, the highest paid Air Canada B787 pilot earns CAD$313.81 (US$234.68) an hour, according to an internal table available to Reuters. Under the WestJet deal, a comparable B787 pilot will earn CAD$319.25 as of July 2023, rising to CAD$347.16 by 2026.

The deal will also fully integrate low-cost carrier WestJet Swoop operations into its main line by October 2024.

($1 = CAD 1.3372)

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