Delta offers pilots a 31% wage increase over three years

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Delta Air Lines has offered a 31% 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 travel demand.

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

Delta increased flights to Chile and Argentina.

Delta 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.

They will also get a one-time payment equivalent to a cumulative 22% of their earnings between 2020 and 2022 after the deal is ratified.

The Atlanta-based carrier’s 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 to authorize a strike if negotiators could not reach an agreement on the new contract.