AROUND MISSISSIPPI — Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Silver Airways and its pilots, represented by the Airline Professionals Association Teamsters Local 1224 (Local 1224) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division (IBTAD), have reached an agreement that will help address pilot shortages at the airline and provide Silver’s pilots with pay increases and quality of life improvements, according to a joint release from Silver Airways and Local 1224.
The two groups have been working since August 2013 on a mid-term contract solution that will increase pilot pay and provide quality of life enhancements, while at the same time allowing the airline to better operate and continue to grow. Once ratified by the pilots, the letter of agreement will also assist the airline in attracting and retaining high quality pilots by immediately boosting pay, enhancing commuting and schedule flexibility, and allowing all pilots who remain with the Company for another year to earn a cash retention bonus.
The agreement was negotiated over the last several months, and it is being strongly endorsed by both the Silver Executive Council and the Teamster local. Final approval, however, is subject to ratification by Silver’s pilot membership.
“We are very pleased that we reached a mutually beneficial agreement that recognizes the value of our pilots and the key role they play at Silver, while at the same time ensuring that our company can operate successfully and continue to grow and expand. Achieving these goals is an outcome that will not only allow us to secure and better our pilots’ jobs, it will create more advancement opportunity enabling our pilots to gain the experience needed to quickly advance in their careers as professional aviators, both here and throughout the industry. We are fortunate to have very skilled pilots here at Silver, and we hope that they will make a career with us. We believe that our new agreement with the union will satisfy all of our pilots regardless of their future plans,” said Silver Airways president and CEO Dave Pflieger.
Daniel Wells, president of Local 1224, who is also a 747 captain with Atlas Air and 28-year industry veteran, said, “We believe this outcome should serve as a model for the rest of the regional airline industry. We do not have a ‘skills-gap’ but rather a ‘pay-gap’ in the airline industry. There are plenty of people in this country who could become airline pilots — and want to — it’s a great career. But with low starting wages, it is presently not a good economic decision. This agreement with Silver helps toward the realization that the best way to address our nationwide pilot shortage is by enhancing the quality of life of regional pilots and by elevating the pilot profession. A significant step in the right direction is to help our pilots earn a decent living that allows them to recoup the costs they have invested to build flight time, earn the required FAA certifications, and become the highly trained and professional commercial pilots they are. Given the positive outcome we have achieved for our pilots here, we look forward to working closely with the new leadership team at Silver Airways as they strengthen, grow and hire more pilots.”
Silver Airways serves Greenville, Meridian and Tupelo in Mississippi.