Insight Hawaii Insight Hawaiian reaches tentative deal with pilots' union By Shane Nelson / December 28, 2009 Share 1 -- After three years' worth of what has frequently been described as contentious negotiations, ALPA union leaders representing Hawaiian Airlines pilots have come to a tentative five-year contract agreement with the carrier's management. "We are pleased to have reached this agreement with ALPA during such challenging times in our industry," said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's president and CEO, in a statement released Dec. 18. "This agreement will provide Hawaiian's pilots an outstanding pay and benefits package while also addressing some of the operational issues that are important to the company. We believe this agreement recognizes the important contributions of our pilots while allowing Hawaiian to continue to grow and add jobs." Hawaiian's 418 pilots still need to ratify the agreement in a union membership vote likely to come in the next few weeks. "We believe this is a positive agreement for our membership," Eric Sampson, chairman of ALPA's Master Executive Council at Hawaiian, said in a statement. "We are pleased to have been able to achieve improvements in both pay and retirement for our members and our MEC and Negotiating Committee support the agreement." According to a Dec. 19 Honolulu Star Bulletin report, the deal would increase the pilot's wages by around 19% over the entire length of the contract. Earlier reports claimed the pilots were seeking a 17% raise over four years, while the airline was offering 20% over five years in exchange for work-rule changes that would make the airline more competitive in the industry. In a Dec. 18 report, Pacific Business News said Hawaiian Airlines pilots' annual salaries begin at around $30,000 for a Boeing 717 first officer and top out at more than $170,000 for a senior Boeing 767 captain. The average among Hawaiian's pilots, according to PBN, is around $150,000 a year. Hawaiian's pilots voted to approve a September strike authorization for its union leaders, and as recently as Oct. 26 the airline's ALPA representatives formally requested that the National Mediation Board release the pilots from mediation, insisting that talks had reached an impasse. The largest provider of passenger air service to Hawaii from the state's major visitor markets, Hawaiian was the nation's highest-ranked carrier for performance and service quality in last year's Airline Quality Rating study and has lead all domestic carriers in on-time performance since 2004. There has never been a strike at Hawaiian in the airline's 80-year history.