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Netjets Pilots Contract Negotiations

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In recent contract negotiations between NetJets management and its pilots union, a significant disparity persists. NetJets asserts that it has proposed a 52.5% salary increase spread out until 2029, while the pilots’ representatives argue that a 60% increase “on day one” is necessary to compete with airline pay.

A survey commissioned by the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) from the University of New Hampshire reveals that two-thirds of the fractional provider’s pilots do not view their position at NetJets as a long-term career choice. Frustrated by the lack of progress in collective bargaining agreement (CBA) talks, 40% of NetJets pilots anticipate leaving the company within a year. Approximately 500 of the 3,100 pilots at NetJets participated in the survey.

Paulette Gilbert, NJASAP vice president and a NetJets pilot for 22 years, expressed her disappointment, stating, “I spent 22 years trying to make NetJets the best it could be, but now even people in my demographic are looking at leaving because NetJets does not offer a competitive contract. You might make 60% less [than what major airlines pay].” The union reports that salaries at NetJets range from $77,000 for new-hire pilots to around $200,000 for experienced ones.

NetJets’ executive VP of administrative services, Brad Ferrell, defended the company’s position, saying, “In November, we made what we believe was an extremely generous offer to NJASAP, which included 52.5% cumulative base wage increases [graduated through the CBA term ending in 2029] and other enhancements, without any additional duration to the current CBA.” The proposed wage increases would commence with a 23% raise as of Dec. 21, 2023, followed by 6% the next year and 4% for each of the subsequent four years, totaling 52.5%. NetJets claims that, under this pay scale, the average pilot salary would be $288,000.

Ferrell informed Forbes, “NetJets willingly and voluntarily negotiated with NJSAP throughout 2023, despite the fact there are several years remaining on the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. NJSAP rejected the Company’s offer, never offering their members a chance to vote on the proposed terms.”

Although turnover among NetJets pilots, as reported by Private Jet Card Comparisons, remained below the national average at 7.3% for the 12 months ending Nov. 30, 2023, the ongoing contract dispute underscores the challenges within the company.