14-Jun-2010 11:40 AM

Spirit Airlines cancels all services on 12-15-Jun-2010 as pilots strike

Spirit Airlines stated that, as a result of its pilot union’s decision to strike, all Spirit’s flights are cancelled between 12-Jun-2010 and 15-Jun-2010. Spirit is processing future flight credits for customers for the full amount of their unflown flight purchase, and is also giving them a USD100 future flight credit. In relation to the failed pay negotiations, the carrier commented, "it is surprising to me that ALPA would turn down this generous offer that would have paid senior captains over USD200,000 per year”. Spirit Airlines stated it offered the following pay conditions to its pilots:

  • Compounded average 29% pay increase costing the company an additional USD70 million over five years, net of productivity improvements agreed to by the pilots. This 29 percent pay increase when combined with annual step increases totals a 47% increase in annual compensation over five years, prior to any overtime pay, signing bonus and 401K matching contribution increases;
  • Pilots would have retained a four-day off break between each and every trip; 
  • Each pilot would have received a USD3,000 signing bonus;
  • The pilots would have received an 8% 401K match in years one through three with an increase to 9% in year four, while all other Spirit employees only receive a 3% match. [more]

The carrier's 440 pilots represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) walked off the job on 12-Jun-2010 after the mediated talks failed to bridge differences with management over pay, scheduling and benefits (Reuters, 13-Jun-2010). Pilots of Spirit Airlines, the largest carrier at Fort Lauderdale International Airport operating a network of approximately 150 daily services to 40 cities mainly in Eastern USA, the Caribbean and Mexico, have reported stated they would not return to work until a "fair and equitable" contract is negotiated (Associated Press/Bloomberg/Orlando Sentinel, 13-Jun-2010). The pilots claim that their pay lags behind those of competitors, including AirTran and JetBlue.

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