JetBlue Airways pilots have agreed to a contract extension that includes a salary increase of 21.5% over the next 18 months. This comes as the airline industry experiences a pilot shortage and seeks to reverse slow progress in labor deals. The union representing JetBlue’s pilots said that if the airline’s planned acquisition of Spirit Airlines is not approved by regulators, the union will return to the negotiating table with JetBlue. The contract extension was approved by 75% of JetBlue’s pilots who participated in the vote, according to the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents them.
The aviation industry has been struggling with labor negotiations as pilots demand higher pay and better schedules, and a shortage of pilots limits airlines’ growth. Delta Air Lines is currently reviewing a contract proposal with its 15,000 pilots that includes a pay increase of 34% over four years. Other major U.S. airlines, including United Airlines, American Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, are still negotiating with their pilots’ unions.