Release #: JBU 24.01
February 21, 2024

JetBlue Pilots Renew Focus on Negotiating a Standalone Contract

New York—Today, JetBlue Airways pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), announced their renewed focus on negotiating a standalone collective bargaining agreement with the Company. In light of uncertainties surrounding the acquisition and merger with Spirit Airlines, JetBlue pilot leaders are shifting their focus from negotiating a joint collective bargaining agreement for a combined JetBlue-Spirit pilot group to preparing to commence bargaining discussions for a successor JetBlue contract later this year.

On January 24, a federal court in Boston issued a permanent injunction against the proposed merger of JetBlue and Spirit. Shortly thereafter, the two carriers filed a notice of appeal with the First Circuit, and sought and were granted expedited treatment by the Court of Appeals. Oral argument in the appeal is scheduled for June. A decision is widely expected prior to the July 24 termination date for the merger agreement between the airlines. In the event the merger is terminated, the JetBlue pilot group could begin contract negotiations with the Company as soon as August.

Capt. Justin Houck, chair of the JetBlue unit of ALPA, stated, “When the merger was initially proposed, we opted for a short-term extension rather than a full comprehensive contract, anticipating a joint collective bargaining agreement post-merger. However, the court decision in January has altered the landscape significantly. Without the merger, our attention must shift to attaining our contractual objectives as a single unified pilot group.”

In January 2023, JetBlue pilots ratified a short-term contract extension that focused on immediate economic improvements ensuring that the JetBlue pilot pay would remain in line with the market for pilot compensation during a potentially lengthy merger process. Since that extension, pilots at other airlines—including at Delta and United—have negotiated contracts that not only further improve their compensation, but also work rules, quality of life, and benefits.

“While the contract extension last year served as a temporary measure during the merger process, it was never intended to substitute for a comprehensive contract,” continued Houck. “In the event the merger does not go forward, JetBlue pilots are ready to achieve the full collective bargaining agreement they have earned.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents more than 77,000 pilots, at 43 U.S. and Canadian airlines, including the nearly 5,000 pilots at JetBlue Airways. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @ALPAPilots. 


CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703-481-4440 or