Pilots at one of America’s biggest airlines, American Airlines, have approved the decision to go on strike ahead of the busy summer travel season. Reuters notes that the strike vote was organized in order to put pressure on the management of the airline, which is currently agreeing new employment contracts with the pilots.
The Allied Pilots Association (APA) represents approximately 15,000 American Airlines pilots. 99% of them voted to sanction the strike, the union said in a statement.
Despite overwhelming support from pilots, the chances of a strike are slim as US labor laws make it harder for airline workers to strike. In turn, American Airlines has officially stated that it hopes to reach a new agreement with the pilots in the near future.
Pilots are pushing for higher wages and better working conditions as carriers struggle to recruit staff to meet growing demand for air travel in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
American airlines have been complaining about the lack of pilots for 5 years, but the situation has worsened during the pandemic. When the airline market crashed in 2020, pilots were encouraged to retire early. As a result, airlines lost around 10,000 pilots.
However, some airline executives are warning that steep increases in pilot wages will drive up base costs and make it harder for the industry to bounce back from the losses of the previous 3 years of the pandemic.
American Airlines is one of the largest airlines in the United States and the world, with around 1,500 planes, according to Statista. American Airlines has approximately 123,400 employees. American Airlines Group’s annual revenue in 2021 was $29.88 billion, and the company carried 165.68 million total passengers in 2021. American Airlines flies to 350 destinations, averaging around 6 700 flights per day.
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