Delta Air Lines will give its non-union staff, including flight attendants but not pilots, a 5 percent pay raise this April. The move, as CEO Ed Bastian put it in a memo Tuesday, was “well earned” by staff after a challenging 2022.

“This well-earned increase is a direct result of your efforts,” Bastian said. “I can’t thank you enough you for your continued commitment and the care you demonstrate to each other, our customers, and the communities we serve.”

Delta Flight Attendant
A Delta Air Lines flight attendant. (Delta Air Lines)

The raise comes as airlines around the world face pressure from mounting costs. Delta saw the amount it costs for it to fly a seat one mile, excluding fuel, jump 13 percent in the fourth quarter compared to 2019. The dramatic increase came as the airline staffed up to pre-pandemic levels amid operational challenges but flew roughly 9 percent less capacity than three years earlier. And Delta forecasts a further 23-25 percent increase compared to 2019 — or 3-4 percent year-over-year — during the quarter ending in March if its pilots ratify a new accord that would raise their pay by 34 percent over four years.

Delta will pay more than $550 million in bonuses to staff, something it historically does on Valentine’s Day. In addition, it comes less than a year after the carrier gave its non-unionized staff members a 4 percent increase. Most of Delta’s roughly 90,000 workers are not organized, the main exception being its more than 13,000 pilots who are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).

Travel demand, however, remains robust with revenue growth, in many cases, outpacing the run up in costs.

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