In late July, JetBlue Airways finally succeeded in its months-long pursuit of Spirit Airlines and acquired the low-budget carrier for $3.8 billion.
It’s still all subject to government regulatory approval, of course, and it appears Spirit’s pilots are taking no chances on whether that approval comes, or what happens when the two carriers finally do merger under the JetBlue brand.
According to an article in Forbes, Spirit’s pilots’ union will head to the negotiating table as early as Tuesday, September 6, to ask for a raise. The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) confirmed the talks, and a source told Forbes that “Pilots are obviously looking for substantial pay raises.”
The publication noted that Spirit pilots had the foresight to negotiate merger protections in a previous contract that was signed in 2018, but this move for the airline’s 3,000 pilots would give captains and co-pilots further protection if and when the merger goes through. It also avoids a prolonged negotiation with JetBlue down the road. ALPA’s current contract with Spirit becomes amendable on March 1, 2023, but a clause allows for negotiations to become 180 days prior to that.
“For many months the Spirit master executive council has repeatedly advocated for necessary improvements to compensation and work rules, warning that without these changes, pilots would continue to leave Spirit for airlines that offer better pay, working conditions, and career opportunities,” Capt. Ryan Muller, chairman of the Spirit ALPA chapter, said in a statement. “We look forward to beginning formal negotiations to bring about the changes necessary to stem attrition and make Spirit a career destination airline.”
This article originally appeared on Travel Pulse