Spirit Pilots Strike Looming

Spirit has announced that it is “partnering with other air carrier providers to continue to serve our customers.”  No details have been provided as to which airlines Spirit is working with or whether the airline would only be able to fly a partial schedule in the event of a strike. It is an unusual step taken by an airline during a strike. It is unknown if in fact, the pilots of other carriers will support Spirit or if they will actually stand with the striking pilots.

The airline is engaged in final talks this week with its pilot representatives in Washington, D.C. at the National Mediation Board.  Although there appears to be progress in their talks, it remains to be seen if a strike can be averted.

Pilot contract negotiations have been going on for the last three years.  Spirit pilots earn less on average than pilots working for other discount airlines.  Spirit counters that it has offered its pilots double digit percentage salary increases but that the pilots are being unreasonable in their demands.

June 12th has been identified by Spirit pilots as “strike day” and has warned Spirit customers via billboards in Spirit’s three major hubs (Atlantic City, Detroit, and Ft. Lauderdale) of possible flight cancellations as of that day. This too is an unusual step, and it will be interesting to see if this changes the behaviors of their flying customers.

Spirit’s pilot union has announced that Spirit’s pilots are willing to go without paychecks if that is what it takes to get paid in a manner that reflects their true value.


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