On Tuesday, December 6, and Wednesday, December 7, Spirit Airlines pilots, as represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), held informational picketing events outside Spirit headquarters in Miramar.
More than 200 pilots from Spirit, as well as United, JetBlue, Frontier, Southwest, and American, walked in unison in front of the corporate headquarters to press the company to provide industry-standard compensation, including pay scales, profit sharing, and retirement. The pilots also picketed Tuesday outside Spirit ticket counters at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.
“We came out to the company headquarters because Spirit management needs to see firsthand the unity of this pilot group,” said Capt. Stuart Morrison, chairman of the Spirit unit of ALPA.
“We also picketed at the airport because Spirit customers should be aware of our situation. While our company makes record profits, Spirit pilots’ compensation continues to significantly lag that of our peers.”
For nearly two years, the pilots have been in negotiations with the company. This past July, the two sides agreed to enter into mediated talks in the hope of reaching a deal. The pilots have repeatedly expressed the need to be brought up to the compensation enjoyed by pilots flying similar routes and aircraft. Currently, depending on longevity with their respective airlines, a Spirit pilot could receive total compensation less than half of that of a pilot at a competitor airline.
Spirit Airlines (NASDAQ:SAVE) is one of the fastest-growing airlines in the United States and has aggressive hiring plans. Spirit pilots have raised concerns that, without a contract that includes industry-standard compensation, Spirit will be unable to retain or attract qualified pilots and sustain its growth.
“As Spirit continues to grow, a contract that includes industry-standard pay rates, profit sharing, and retirement is vital to maintaining a qualified and dedicated pilot workforce,” continued Capt. Morrison.
“Spirit pilots will do whatever it takes to achieve an industry-standard contract.”