NJASAP Warns NetJets Execs on Need To Up Pay Scale

 - March 13, 2023, 11:02 AM
The NetJets pilots' union NJASAP is warning that company management needs to be aggressive with pay or risk losing pilots to the airlines. (Photo: NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots)

The NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) warned that unless NetJets take more aggressive steps to attract and retain pilots, the fractional ownership provider faces the prospect of the operation becoming a stepping stone to airline employment. The warning comes as NJASAP is in the midst of midterm contract negotiations with the NetJets management team.

It also comes, however, as Delta Air Lines recently reached an agreement with its pilots on a contract that would up their pay by roughly 34 percent, with salaries reaching nearly $600,000 for widebody captains and $475,000 for narrowbodies. American Airlines has offered to match this.

NJASAP expressed concern that the management team is not taking proactive steps to preserve its workforce and pointed to a member survey indicating that 22 percent of NetJets pilots plan to leave within a year if contract negotiations are not satisfactory. "We are watching management teams across the industry—from legacy carriers to ultra-low-cost carriers—take bold steps to reinforce their competitive footing for top pilot talent," NJASAP president Pedro Leroux said. "We fear NetJets's intransigence on this industry-shaping moment will have very serious consequences for the brand's ability to deliver the unparalleled safety and service product for which our customers pay a premium."

NJASAP pointed out that its pilots provide service to more than 5,000 airports while legacy carriers provide service, on average, to 262 destinations. "NetJets stands alone here," Leroux said. "The unsurpassed number and location of the airports we service—many of which are uncontrolled fields in remote locations with unique risks—leaves zero doubt that NetJets requires a pilot force with unmatched experience and proficiency."

Meanwhile, NetJets owner Berkshire Hathaway reported revenues from its aviation services businesses—also including FlightSafety International—increased 18.2 percent year-over-year in 2022. While it did not specify the breakdown by company, Berkshire Hathaway did say the increase reflected an 11 percent bump in training hours at FlightSafety and a 9 percent growth in flight hours at NetJets, most of which occurred in the first half of 2022. Also aiding the boost was increases in fuel surcharges but tempered by changes in the sales mix.

Earnings for Berkshire Hathaway’s services businesses increased by $375 million, with aviation services contributing 3.4 percent of that increase.