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Exclusive: Delta offers 34% pay raise to pilots in new contract

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Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) has offered a 34% cumulative pay increase to its pilots over three years in a new contract, demonstrating the bargaining power aviators are enjoying in a short-staffed industry with booming demand.

The pilots will get a raise of at least 18% raise on the date the contract is signed, another 5% after one year, 4% after two years and 4% after three years, according to a draft contract seen by Reuters.

Delta pilots will also get a one-time payment equivalent to 22% of their earnings between 2020 and 2022 after the ratification of the deal.

The Atlanta-based carrier has also promised to ensure that pay rates of Delta pilots will exceed those of their counterparts at United Airlines (UAL.O) and American Airlines (AAL.O) by at least 1%.

In a memo to its members, the union representing Delta pilots said the deal represents more than $7.2 billion of cumulative value increases over the next four years.

Delta said it is “pleased to have reached an agreement in principle for a new pilot contract, one that recognizes the contributions of our pilots to Delta’s success.”

If the deal is approved by Delta pilots, it is widely expected to act as a benchmark for contract negotiations at United and American.

Delta pilots have been working without a new contract for nearly three years after their old contract became amendable in December 2019, fueling frustration.

They voted overwhelmingly in October voted to authorize a strike if negotiators could not reach an agreement on the new contract.

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Delta Air Lines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, protest outside Terminal 4 at JFK International airport in New York City, U.S., June 30, 2022. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Delta Air Lines planes are seen at John F. Kennedy International Airport on the July 4th weekend in Queens, New York City, U.S., July 2, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

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