CommutAir Pilots
A CommuteAir ERJ 145XR on approach to Newark Liberty International Airport. Photo: Wikimedia

At A Glance

Pilots joined ALPA: 2008

Number of pilots/flightcrew members: 395

Pilot bases: Denver, Colo.; Houston, Tex.; and Washington, D.C.

Hubs/key markets: Denver International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, and Washington Dulles International Airport

North Olmsted, Ohio

Operations: CommuteAir operates up to 1,500 weekly flights, providing connections for United Airlines’ global network.

Fleet: 50 ERJ 145s

After nearly a year of midterm discussions, CommuteAir pilot leaders and management have yet to reach a letter of agreement (LOA) on improvements to compensation and quality of life for the pilot group. In January 2022, CommuteAir employed approximately 500 pilots. That number has dropped to 395.

“It’s the Master Executive Council’s [MEC] belief that we should first and foremost invest in the pilots who’ve invested time and energy into our airline,” said Capt. Dan Tomic, the pilot group’s MEC chair. “We’ll continue our tireless efforts advocating for our members. What we’re seeking is an industry-standard agreement.”

Though the MEC has taken steps to show its commitment to improving the lives of CommuteAir pilots, management has been slow to respond and has shown a lack of active interest in retaining qualified pilots. ALPA has voiced concern that management’s primary goal appears to be increasing pilot utilization in a dwindling and already overworked pilot group.

As part of its effort to put the focus back on retention and ensuring that the carrier can attract pilots under an industry-standard contract, ALPA has filed a grievance relating to management’s $175,000 sign-on bonus for direct-entry captains. Current LOA language caps that bonus at $75,000.

Capt. Lachlan Purkis, left, and F/O Liam Corcoran, the pilots’ Master Executive Council vice chair, in Durango, Colo., during a three-day trip.