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Regional airlines of American Airlines will increase the salary of pilots by 50%

Two regional carriers owned by American Airlines are raising pilot pay by 50% through the end of August 2024, the latest sign that carriers are willing to pay more in hopes of ending a pilot shortage.

The raises will make the pilots the highest-paid at US regional airlines, increasing pressure on other carriers to follow suit.

Including separate permanent pay raises, the temporary raises will raise hourly wages for first officers in their first year of flying at Piedmont Airlines to $90 an hour, up from $51 an hour, the company said. For captains, the salary will be $146 per hour, up from $78 per hour. The airline could extend temporary rises if necessary, Piedmont's CEO said Monday.

Airlines have hired a large number of pilots since last year, when travel demand began to recover. But persistent pilot shortages continue to hamper growth at a time of strong demand, prompting airlines to park planes serving smaller cities. Part of the problem is that airlines encouraged pilots to retire early after demand plummeted in 2020 and were left with too few aviators when travel picked up.

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