Spirit Posts Strong Second-Quarter Earnings, Pilot Compensation Remains at the Bottom

July 27, 2017

Low-Tier Wages Help Spirit Generate High-Tier Profits

MIRAMAR, Fla.—Spirit pilots, as represented by Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), responded to Spirit Airlines’ second-quarter adjusted pretax earnings of 17.9 percent, even as the company continues to compensate its pilots below market-rate wages. This is the 28th straight quarter of profits for the company.

While Spirit Airlines’ profit margins continue to be among the industry leaders and the airline’s revenue trends continue to improve, Spirit pilots have been without a new contract for two years and remain some of the lowest-compensated pilots in the industry. Not surprisingly, indications are that the company is currently having difficulty hiring and is losing qualified pilots to career destination carriers such as United, Delta, American, Southwest, JetBlue, and others. Many analysts in the investor community have already concluded that it is time for Spirit management to enter into a contract with its pilots or risk jeopardizing the company’s growth plan.

“The airline industry is experiencing a time of unprecedented demand for qualified pilots. The ability to attract and retain pilots is critical to Spirit Airlines’ ability to grow and execute its business plan. The only way to a properly staffed, fully functional operation is a contract that makes it worthwhile for a pilot to make a career commitment to Spirit Airlines,” said Capt. Stuart Morrison, chairman of the Spirit unit of ALPA. “Failure to fairly compensate pilots, who have contributed so much to the company’s success, jeopardizes the long-term health and viability of the company. Our financial experts have demonstrated that with our proposals Spirit Airlines is positioned to generate profits and grow the airline. High-tier earnings should not equal low-tier pilot compensation.”

Since May, Spirit pilots have been working under a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued in the wake of the airline’s operational difficulties, and have been doing everything in their power to keep the airline’s operation running and provide reliable service to its customers.

“Throughout the bargaining process, Spirit pilots have and will continue to demonstrate unquestionable professionalism and continue to safely transport passengers to their destinations,” said Capt. Morrison. “There is not one Spirit pilot who doesn’t understand that preserving the operation is necessary, and failure to do so provides an excuse to Spirit management to avoid productive bargaining. Spirit pilots will continue to comply with the TRO and do everything we can to keep the operation reliable.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 57,000 pilots at 33 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.

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