Piedmont (American Eagle) Pilots Get Big Raise

American Airlines wholly-owned regional carrier Piedmont has come to an agreement for more pay with its pilots union.

I’ve heard from flight attendants at Piedmont none too happy, because they’ve waited several years for a new contract. Of course pilots are in much greater demand by airlines and harder to replace, and unhappy pilots directly affect an airline’s operation (while unhappy flight attendants ‘merely’ mean unhappy customers, absent a ‘self help’ action).

Here’s what the regional carrier told its pilots:

Dear Piedmont Pilots:
I am pleased to share that Piedmont and your ALPA leadership team have reached a tentative agreement that will be the largest pilot recruitment and retention package in our company’s history. Today’s announcement offers current pilots and new pilots increased stability in an industry rocked by uncertainty over the past 18 months. This package represents not only a large financial commitment, but a commitment to building a sustainable Piedmont Airlines that will carry us well into the future and ensures that American Airlines will have a steady pipeline of pilots for years to come.

Highlights of the package include:

  • A $30,000 retention bonus paid in November to all current captains. Current and new first officers will receive $30,000 upon successful upgrade to captain.
  • $70,000 to pilots who flow to American Airlines starting with our September flow pilots.
  • The opportunity to earn an additional $50,000 ($25,000 per year for two years) for meeting a threshold of working hours.
  • Increased pay rates for first officers and captains to enhance Piedmont’s competitive position An enhanced flow agreement that will allow us to send additional pilots to American when attrition and hiring targets are met

I would like to thank Brandon Lighty and our ALPA MEC for their cooperation as we worked to put this package in place. Throughout the pandemic, the company and ALPA have worked together to protect Piedmont pilots from furlough and meet the demands of the operation in an ever-changing environment.

Our ability to out-perform all other American Airlines regionals, take on flying when necessary and deliver a safe product to our customers is what led to this significant investment. Any pilot who flies for Piedmont now, or chooses Piedmont in the future, will have a solid future with our company and eventually an opportunity with American Airlines if they wish to flow.

Our communications and recruiting teams are currently getting up to speed and will release more information soon.

Remember that the $10,000 referral bonus is in place, and there has never been a better time to refer a pilot to Piedmont. New hires will receive some additional incentives, including a type rating bonus and a Part 121 experience bonus. Find referral information here on MyPiedmont.

Thank you for the work you’ve done to bring Piedmont to this point, and for caring for our team members and customers each day. We are proud to offer this opportunity to our pilots and look forward to the contributions each of you will make to Piedmont’s continued success.

Steve Keefer
Vice President, Flight Operations

Piedmont ERJ-145

A commuter carrier for Allegheny Airlines since the late 1960s, Piedmont was acquired by USAir in 1987. It operates American’s 13-23 year old Embraer ERJ-145 fifty seat regional jets.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This is nice to hear. Pilots at the regional airlines are underpaid. ATP Flight school isn’t cheap. It’s important that pay be commensurate with the position. Flying a commercial jet airliner no matter the size deserves high pay.

  2. I like those small jets. 2-2 seating, no middle seat and the FA’s are usually kind. Less stress only serving drinks to a few dozen people…..

  3. Piedmont was a jet legacy carrier up until its acquisition by USAir. People in the Southeast loved Piedmont for its friendly folks and on-time performance.

  4. Thank you Amelia. PI was, indeed, a big boy, well-loved and respected across the Southeast and the globe (that recent post about loving all the wide open mileage space to/from CLT-FRA is spoils from US’s buyout of PI’s two European slots at CLT, a source of pride for the Metrolina community for over thirty years).

    It was EN that provided the commenter service to AL.

    In 1983, PI bought EN and re-branded that portion of the airline as “Henson, The Piedmont Regional Airline.” Both were purchased by the USAir Group in 1987 with Piedmont absorbed two years later and Henson’s aircraft repainted in USAir Express livery. The Piedmont name was resurrected in 1993, when USAir renamed Henson to “Piedmont Airlines”, to protect the Piedmont brand name, which could be used by others if not exercised in trade use for a period of time.

    Yes, EN took PI’s name but they are NOT the same airline. To suggest otherwise is both disingenuous and shows a lack of expertise claimed on the part of the author.

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