JetBlue’s Pilots press for contract as airline announces double-digit margins

JetBlue pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), responded to JetBlue Airways’ third-quarter earnings statement as their pursuit for a market-rate contract continues. JetBlue reported $293 million in earnings for the third quarter, or a 16.2 percent pretax margin. This marked JetBlue’s 30th consecutive quarter of profitability. Despite this, the company has been unwilling to share these profits with the pilots, proposing pay rates that would keep the pilots among the lowest-paid in the industry.

“JetBlue pilots have played a vital role in the company’s continued success,” said Capt. Patrick Walsh, chairman of the JetBlue unit of ALPA. “Our peers at other airlines enjoy significant pay-rate increases, both at the table and through outside agreements. Though JetBlue is consistently among industry leaders in profitability, our pilots trail in pay and benefits.”

Through the first nine months of 2017, JetBlue has reported over $751 million in pretax profit (a 14.3 percent margin), bringing the total to more than $2.5 billion over the last two years since the pilots have been negotiating with the company. Meanwhile, the pilots are still without their first contract since unionizing in 2014, and without market-rate pay. In July 2017, frustrated by the lack of progress at the negotiating table, the pilots filed for mediation from the National Mediation Board in the hopes of resolving the outstanding issues.

“After almost three years of negotiations, it’s time for management to invest in the pilots,” said Capt. Walsh. “This company pays market rate for fuel, planes, maintenance, and gates. It’s time it paid market rate for its pilots.”

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