A Boeing 737-990 operated by Alaska Airlines takes off from JFK Airport on August 24, 2019 in Queens, New York City.
Bruce Bennett | Getty Images
Alaska Airlines It’s offering flight attendants double the pay for extra flights this spring in hopes of avoiding a staff shortage ahead of an even bigger jump in travel demand in the coming months.
Airlines rolled Incentives like bonuses and up to three pay For pilots and flight attendants late last year to reduce staffing shortages during the busy year-end holidays, but a wave of Corona virus disease The omicron infection continues to sideline crew members, contributing to the cancellation of thousands of flights.
The Alaska bid shows that the carrier is willing to pay more money to crews to avoid flight disruptions due to staff shortages, a problem that can quickly spread across an airline’s network.
“Like many other airlines, we face general staffing challenges,” Alaska said in a statement. “In response, we are offering flight attendants incentives to push hiring gaps for a short period of time this spring.”
The airline recently recruited and trained 165 new flight attendants and plans to bring another 700 aboard in June. It had more than 5,500 flight attendants as of the end of 2021. Alaska is the fifth largest US airline with more than 120 destinations in North America, hubs on the West Coast, and in Alaska.
The Seattle-based airline contacted the flight attendant association about incentive pay, according to a memo sent to cabin crew on Friday.
American AirlinesWhich aims to hire some 18,000 people this year and Southwest Airlineswhich has Targeted 8000 new employees In 2022, they said they do not currently offer similar incentives to Alaska.
Airlines executives said last week that travel demand rebounded faster than they expected. In February, reservations and sales Exceeded pre-pandemic levels For the first time, according to Adobe data, airport security checks this week reached their highest level since Thanksgiving.
They said they expect the trend to help offset the sharp rise in fuel prices this year, although some carriers, including Alaska, have scaled back their schedules in response to rising costs. However, the airline said it expects to return to pre-Covid capacity by summer.
Alaskan executives will outline their plans for the next year at Investor Day Thursday.
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