Two Air Wisconsin CRJ200s at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, one in classic colors and another in American Eagle livery. Photo: Capt. Jack Roback (Air Wisconsin)
At A Glance
Pilots joined ALPA: 1982
Number of pilots: 439
Pilot bases: Chicago, Ill.; Milwaukee, Wisc.; and Dayton, Ohio
Hubs/key markets: Chicago, Ill.; and Philadelphia, Pa.
Headquarters: Appleton, Wisc.
Operations: Air Wisconsin flies to 53 destinations in 19 U.S. states and Canada, carrying almost six million passengers each year.
Fleet: Approximately 60 50-seat CRJ200s. The amended contract requires all pilots to complete CRJ700 differences training, raising the possibility that the company might add 70-seat aircraft to its fleet.
In 2023, the pilots of Air Wisconsin achieved two major accomplishments: making a smooth transition from United Express to American Eagle and ratifying an amended contract that brought them in line with their American Airlines partners at Envoy Air, Piedmont, and PSA.
The express carrier is now fully integrated into the American Airlines system, including leaving Washington Dulles International Airport and transitioning to a new hub at Philadelphia International Airport. The pilots’ amended collective bargaining agreement raises pay rates to the same levels as American’s wholly owned carriers, bringing the pilot group into the negotiating pattern for fee-for-departure pilots and, it’s hoped, reducing the cycle of pilot attrition that’s plagued the airline.
In addition to scheduling improvements, the amended contract provides almost $48 million in value over its three-year duration. Captain pay increased by approximately 38 percent and first officer pay by approximately 54 percent. The agreement also calls for the creation of a new preferential bidding system (PBS), but one with strong pilot involvement. However, management may not implement PBS until the pilot group has voted to approve the system.