ALPA's Communications Department provides information and support for news media inquiries. An ALPA communications representative can be reached in the Herndon, Va. office at (703) 481-4440.

News Release

Release #03.014
February 24, 2003

Spirit Pilots Ratify Four-Year Agreement, Secure Gains in Wages and Working Conditions

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL --- At a time when good news in the domestic commercial aviation industry is scarce, the pilots of Spirit Airlines, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International, have something to celebrate. They officially announced this morning that they have ratified a four-year collective bargaining agreement with their management, which provides improvements in compensation and work rules.

The new contract secures wage improvements, including a 20 percent increase in the first year of the new contract. There are also improvements in vacation and sick leave accruals, increased per diem rates, better coverage for moving expenses, increased pay for training and travel, and a number of other contractual enhancements. In addition, health insurance benefits were locked in at their current levels and pilot costs cannot increase more than the consumer price index.

"Weíre very happy with this new contract. We believe that it represents our pilotsí best interests and we commend Spirit management for its ability to recognize the value we provide to our organization," said Capt. David Sytsema, chairman of the Spirit pilotís Master Executive Council (MEC).

He added, "The success of these negotiations is a testament to the effectiveness of the negotiating process as directed by the Railway Labor Act. This legislation allowed the two sides to reach an agreement without interference from an outside party."

Spirit pilots and management began contract talks in late August 2002, approximately five months prior to the Jan. 31, 2003 amendable date of the pilotsí most recent agreement. In December, Spirit management approached the pilots, expressing an interest in pursuing new sources of capital for the carrier and requesting that the two parties attempt to reach an agreement by January 31. The pilots and management launched an aggressive negotiating schedule, substantially increasing the number of sessions, to meet this objective.

Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Spirit Airlines is the largest privately held airline in the U.S. The Spirit pilots operate a fleet of MD-80 and DC-9 aircraft with 100 daily departures to destinations in the United States and the Caribbean.

Founded in 1931, ALPA represents 66,000 pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at


ALPA CONTACT: John Perkinson, (703) 481-4440