Release #: ALA 20.03
July 21, 2020

Alaska Airlines Pilot Union Reaches an Agreement to Avoid Pilot Furloughs

SEATTLE, Wash.—Pilot leaders from the Alaska Master Executive Council (MEC), represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), have reached agreements on a number of incentivized leave and early retirement programs. Strong pilot participation in these voluntary programs has effectively avoided the threat of pilot furloughs at Alaska Airlines.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on our industry and our pilots,” said Capt. Will McQuillen, chairman of the Alaska MEC. “Protecting the careers of Alaska Airlines pilots is our primary goal. Our experienced team of pilot volunteers worked diligently over the last two months to establish programs for those pilots who could step away from flying on a temporary or permanent basis while preserving the employment of those who need or want to continue flying.”

These programs avoid involuntary furloughs and bring stability to Alaska pilots while allowing the company to remain flexible and able to restaff its pilot workforce on short notice.

“We’ve always maintained that there was a smarter way to address our company’s staffing issues than furloughing pilots,” said McQuillen. “Ultimately, our senior management agreed with our point of view and worked with us on implementing these programs. Today’s success is a shining example of what unionism is all about—a collective solution that protects the quality of life for the entire Alaska pilot group.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 63,000 pilots at 34 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.


CONTACT: Tania Reyes, Senior Communications Specialist: 206-643-5539