Mesa Airlines pilots, as represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), picketed at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Friday, December 9.
The nearly 70 pilots were demanding a contract after six years of negotiations and one that includes compensation in line with the industry average.
Mesa Air Group provides fee-for-departure (FFD) service for United and American and is one of the largest FFD carriers in the United States.
“For the past six years, we’ve been sitting across the table from management while they explain to us why they can’t afford to pay industry-average salaries to Mesa pilots,” said Capt. Andy Hughes, chairman of the ALPA unit at Mesa Air Group.
“In the meantime, management has invested millions in new aircraft and doubled the size of our fleet. It’s time that management invests in the pilots who have supported and enabled this growth.”
Currently, a starting first officer at Mesa can expect to make just $22,000 each year, well below the national poverty line for a family of four. This is before the pilot attempts to pay for company-provided health care, some of the most expensive in the industry. In fact, Mesa pay rates are often about half of those for pilots at other airlines with the same longevity who fly similar routes and aircraft.
“Many pilots start their career with tens of thousands of dollars in education debt,” continued Capt. Hughes.
“To expect a professional pilot to make poverty-level wages is simply ridiculous. We are calling on the company to come to the table with a contract that recognizes our contributions to the success of the airline and provides livable and appropriate pay rates for all the pilots at Mesa Air Group.”