In the last two years while Major Airline pilot groups have taken significant pay raises, another game has been played at the Regional Airlines. The regional airline pilot groups have experienced the largest decrease in overall compensation in their history. Many articles have been written describing how this phenomenon has occurred in light of the regional airline groups relatively low compensation compared to Major airlines and I won’t to cover that here.
For now things appear to be going relatively well at the mainline carriers as they negotiate new contracts and see new aircraft deliveries. So while things may be more sunny at the major airlines should those pilots draw any concern from the sustained hurricane occurring at the regional airlines? Maybe….
Something almost imperceptible or perceptible (depending on the individual) is happening. The gap between major and regional pilot pay is widening as the major airlines turn the regional airlines into a C scale.
A widening compensation gap could be re-coined as a growing financial incentive for airline board rooms and their executives to shift more flying to their regional subsidiary if they can attract the pilots. As this incentive continues to grow, the motivation for executives to dangle larger carrots in exchange for scope relief will likely increase as well as the temptation for pilots already at the majors to accept these carrots.
To illustrate this we can note the widening gap between Envoy Air’s new Embraer 175 rates that top out at 90+$ per hour for Captains and 39$ per hour for First Officers, and Delta Air Lines Boeing 717 rates of 190$ per hour for Captains and 130$ per hour for First Officers. What adds perspective to this gap is the relatively small gap between the Embraer 175 useful load and passenger capacity verse the Boeing 717. The Embraer 175 is configured for 76 people while the Boeing 717 is configured for roughly 106 people. The Embraer 175 has a useful load of roughly 34-42,000 lbs, while the Boeing 717 has a useful load of 40 -50,000 lbs. (Source Wikipedia)
Just food for thought….