Piedmont Airlines is offering $100,000 up front to pilots who can sit in the left seat of the flight deck and $75,000 to pilots who are close to upgrading to captain to help deliver Piedmont’s projected growth in 2023.
“Passengers are back, and the demand for travel is high, but our industry hasn’t settled into steady state yet,” said Eric Morgan, Piedmont’s CEO. “Piedmont has the opportunity to grow even as many other airlines are shrinking. We are in a unique position to say to pilots ‘come to Piedmont, help us expand our fleet and our routes, and here’s a big check to spend while you do it.’”
The $100,000 bonus replaces the current pilot retention bonuses that expire at the end of the year. Instead of paying multiple bonuses over a five-year period, Piedmont will now pay $100,000 up front to qualified pilots.
“We’ve done a tremendous amount of work to get all of our resources aligned to grow,” added Morgan. “But we have a gap in 2023-2024 between the number of airplanes we want to fly and the captains we need to fly them. We’re looking for pilots who can bring their knowledge and experience to Piedmont, fly in the left seat and get us through that 24-month time period. It’s a $100,000 bonus and top tier pay for a two-year commitment to Piedmont. These pilots will also be able to take advantage of our contractual flow to American.”
In June, Piedmont reached a deal with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) to raise the starting pay for all pilots significantly above the industry standard, and for the first time, base new hire pay on experience at other airlines. The new captain pay scale ranges from $146 per hour to $213 per hour. The deal also included new work rules, enhanced bid schedules and additional hotel rooms for commuting pilots.
In October, Piedmont ratified a new contract with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) for increased wages and better work rules for aircraft maintenance technicians (AMTs) and ground mechanics. The four-year deal ensures Piedmont will have the work force needed to support a growing number of aircraft in seven maintenance locations.
“Every investment we make in our people and our partnerships moves us toward growing the safest, most reliable regional carrier in the business,” added Morgan. “We are Piedmont proud of the work we’re doing to be a great business partner to American Airlines.”
Most of Piedmont’s projected expansion will come in American’s Charlotte and Philadelphia hubs, and Piedmont has been tapped to take on new routes out of Chicago starting in December.