Spirit Airlines To Avoid Furloughing 600 Pilots

**Update: 08/25/20 @ 22:25 UTC – A Spirit spokesperson has shared further details about the agreement; details below.**

It’s crunch time for several airlines as fall approaches. Amid talk of staff uncertainties across the United States’ aviation industry, Spirit Airlines’ pilots union has this week shared that 600 pilots will avoid being furloughed.

Spirit Airbus A320
Talks between airlines and their pilots’ unions are becoming increasingly critical. Photo: Airbus

Working out a deal

Reuters reports that Spirit’s pilots union has reached an agreement for nearly half of some 2,500 pilots to temporarily work fewer hours each month from the start of October. The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) shares that this process would bring a reduction in costs that assists the carrier in avoiding involuntary cuts.

The low-cost airline originally said that it could furlough approximately 2,500 workers. However, the actual number will be a small portion of this amount.

A Spirit spokesperson confirmed to Simple Flying that the firm and the union agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding that removes the need for pilot furloughs. The company initially filed WARN notices advising of projections to furlough 800 pilots. However, there are enough people signing up for voluntary leave, preventing the need for further action.

Spirit Airlines
Spirit had to suspend several flights amid the impact of the pandemic. Photo: Getty Images

Working together

According to a statement seen by Simple Flying, Capt. Scott Vallach, chairman of ALPA’s Spirit Airlines Master Executive Council, is proud of the willingness of the workers to help each other and ensure that no Spirit pilot goes without a paycheck. He also thanked the airline’s management for partnering with his team. They sat down to find a path that helps the company survive while keeping all of the pilots in employment.

“At a time where airlines struggle to keep pace with the ever-changing demand for air travel and airline crews struggle to keep themselves and their families healthy, Spirit Airlines pilots and management worked together to reach an agreement that mitigates the remaining furloughs planned for October 2020,” Vallach said in the statement.

“Effective immediately, the 600 planned furloughs have been canceled.”

United and Spirit Getty
Airlines across the United States have to make crucial decisions regarding their employees as they enter the fourth quarter of the year. Photo: Getty Images

Critical moments

Altogether, over 11,000 airline pilots in the US have already received notices of potential furlough. Moreover, today, American Airlines shared that it would need to furlough around 17,500 US-based employees from the beginning of October. Altogether, as the end date of the CARES Act approaches, several jobs are at risk.

The terms of the act will end on September 30th. Management and employees across the market would have been hoping that the impact of the global health crisis wouldn’t still be so severe after over six months of the act being introduced. However, the aviation industry continues to be rocked with several travel restrictions in place. Nonetheless, Spirit and its pilots’ union are managing to find ways to avoid as many cuts as possible.

What are your thoughts about Spirit Airlines’ pilots’ union reaching such a deal? Do you feel that this is a good move? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.

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