Pilots at Delta Air Lines overwhelmingly approved a new accord with up to 34 percent pay increases on Wednesday.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents the more than 15,000 pilots at Atlanta-based Delta, said 78 percent of cockpit crew members that voted were in favor of the four-year contract. Roughly 96 percent of eligible Delta pilots voted. The deal includes roughly $7 billion in economic value for pilots, according to the union.

John Laughter, Delta’s chief of operations, said the agreement “recognizes our pilotsā€™ contributions.”

delta air lines pilot on the ramp labor pay source delta
(Delta)

Ratification of Delta’s new accord ups the pressure on other major U.S. airlines to reach similar agreements. American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines are all in negotiations over new contacts with their respective pilot unions.

The agreement also represents a steep increase in costs for Delta, which already faces higher expenses this year than it did before the pandemic. In January, executives estimated that the pilot accord would add as much as 3 percentage points to how much it costs the airline to fly a seat one mile, or what are known as costs per available seat mile, excluding fuel. Delta’s guidance indicates that the metric could be up 23-25 percent in the first quarter compared to 2019.

Updated with comment from Delta.

Tags: airlines, delta air lines, labor, pilots