Mesa Airlines just raised entry-level pilot pay by 118% to $100 an hour, beating American’s recent pay hike as battle for regional pilots escalates

Mesa Airlines Bombardier CRJ-900ER seen at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Mesa Airlines Bombardier CRJ-900ER seen at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.Alex Tai/Getty Images

  • Mesa Airlines pilots are set to receive a massive pay raise, according to a union announcement Friday.

  • The regional carrier will pay entry-level co-pilots $100/hr and first-year captains $150/hr.

  • Mesa has lost pilots to mainline carriers as labor shortages continue to plague the industry.

American Airlines thought it had won this summer’s battle over regional pilot pay — until underdog Mesa Airlines came to the bargaining table.

Mesa Airlines pilots will soon go from being one of the lowest-paid pilots to the highest salaries in the regional airline industry, according to a union announcement Friday. Mesa operates approximately 457 flights per day and flies partner aircraft under the American Eagle, United Express and DHL brands.

Starting Sept. 15, the carrier will offer a starting wage of $100 per hour for entry-level co-pilots and $150 per hour for first-year captains. Under the new contract, the Mesa pilots will receive a 118% and 172% pay increase respectively, The Points Guy first reported.

Captains with 20 years of experience will be paid $215 an hour, the Air Line Pilots Association said.

The announcement comes as labor shortages continue to plague the aviation industry amid booming travel demand, resulting in a summer riddled with flight cancellations and delays.

A shortage of trained pilots was felt especially at the regional level. Smaller carriers like Mesa — where new pilots tend to start their careers — have struggled to retain talent this year as major carriers like American with more competitive regional staff.

“The pilot shortage is the biggest threat to the industry that I have witnessed since 9/11,” Mesa Airlines CEO Jonathan Ornstein told an aviation subcommittee hearing. of the Senate on Commerce in May, according to Reuters.

He added that Mesa Airlines “lost nearly 5% of our pilot workforce in one month as major airlines and large aircraft operators hired our pilots.”

In June, American Airlines raised wages for pilots of two of its regional carriers, Envoy and Piedmont. Under the new contract, entry-level co-pilots are paid $90 per hour and first-year captains are paid $146 per hour — rates slightly lower than Mesa currently offers.

“With strong competition in the regional industry, today’s LOA provides the compensation Mesa needs to stay competitive and attract and retain experienced and qualified pilots,” said Captain Chris Gill, Chairman of the Executive Council. principal of Mesa ALPA, in a press release on Friday. “We are pleased to see management and our partners recognizing the value of Mesa riders.”

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