JetBlue to Increase Flight Attendant Pay and Offer Bonuses Amid Spirit Acquisition Plans

JetBlue Airways has announced that it will increase the salaries of its flight attendants next year and offer additional bonuses to its staff. This comes as the union representing cabin crews has agreed to back the airline's plan to purchase Spirit Airlines, a low-cost carrier.


Starting from November, flight attendants will receive a 5% pay increase. With an additional 2% raise, other incentives, and raises already negotiated under the flight attendants' union contract, their salaries will see a compounded increase of 21.5% by 2026, as per a company memo viewed by CNBC on Friday. This pay raise is being implemented as JetBlue, based in New York, is in the midst of attempting to acquire Spirit. This proposed merger is currently being challenged by the Justice Department, with a trial scheduled to commence on October 16 in Boston.


In the memo, JetBlue committed to not furloughing or displacing any flight attendants or closing any associated bases for seven years following the potential acquisition of Spirit. A JetBlue spokesperson stated that the current contract was negotiated during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which time the pay rates for their inflight crewmembers have significantly fallen behind those of other airlines. The spokesperson emphasized the importance of competitive pay and benefits in attracting and retaining high-quality crewmembers who play a significant role in delivering the JetBlue experience.


In response to these measures, the union has expressed its support for JetBlue's planned acquisition of Spirit. The Transport Workers Union, which represents JetBlue's 7,000 flight attendants, stated that it would not hold an additional informational picket or publicly speak against the acquisition. Furthermore, JetBlue has agreed to provide additional pay for staff who operate the airline's trans-Atlantic routes and in its Mint business-class cabin, among other incentives, according to an agreement letter with the Transport Workers Union.

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