Release #10.SPA8
June 14, 2010

Spirit Management Distorts Contract Proposal
Pilots would work longer hours, pay more for health care in face of record profits

WASHINGTON – Spirit Airlines management continues to seriously misrepresent its latest pilot contract proposal, which would force pilots to work more hours and pay more to provide health care for their families, while company profits continue to soar and Spirit was ranked as the most profitable U.S. airline by pre-tax profit margin last year.

“We regret that Spirit management’s failure to take seriously its pilots’ contributions to the company has forced us to strike, but, one way or another, we will make our value clear,” said Capt. Andy Nelson, vice-chairman of the Spirit pilots’ unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA). “For the sake of the passengers who have been inconvenienced by this situation, we urge Spirit management to get serious and present a contract proposal that is fair and equitable for all of its pilots.

“Moreover, Spirit management should focus its energy at the bargaining table instead of negotiating in the news media,” continued Nelson. “Management has hampered our efforts to develop a deal by waiting until hours before the strike deadline to offer any contract increases at all.”

Management’s latest proposal is worth $62.5 million over five years, while Spirit earned a record $83 million profit in 2009 alone. Spirit’s ranking as the most profitable airline by pre-tax margin in the United States in 2009 is based on the Department of Transportation’s Form 41 data. Pre-tax margin, which is the profit made by a company calculated as a percentage of sales before taxes, is an important measure of the profitability of a company.

In the context of this strong profitability, management’s proposal would not bring Spirit pilots’ salaries up to industry standards for at least five years. The pilots’ pay has been frozen for almost four years, which would mean the pilots would wait a total of nearly nine years under management’s proposal before their salaries would match those of other pilots who fly similar aircraft elsewhere in the industry. The management proposal would also force pilots to work more hours and pay more for health care.

“We’ve witnessed massive support from Spirit pilots, pilots at other airlines, and labor across the industry,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “Spirit management should recognize that its pilots have powerful backing and an unshakable resolve to get a fair contract.”

“We were in talks with management and federal mediators for almost three years and in negotiations for nearly four years, yet management produced a serious proposal only in the final hours of negotiations at 3:00 a.m.,” said Nelson. “This company has made record profits based in large part on the professionalism of its employees. It’s time they gave back to the workers, who have given so much to the company, with a fair contract that brings our pilots up to industry-standard pay and benefits.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 53,000 pilots at 38 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at


CONTACT: Doug Baj, 703/481-4440 or