New incentive program for Great Lakes Airline pilots

Published: November 18, 2015

Great_Lakes_Airlines_logo_150pxFollowing discussions with Transportation Division representatives of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers union (SMART TD), Great Lakes Airlines has agreed to implement a Captain Incentive Plan (CIP); an annual calendar year program which pays a cash incentive to eligible pilots each calendar quarter.

Intended to retain existing captain qualified pilots and provide an incentive for first officers (FO) to upgrade to the position of captain, the CIP proposal was codified as a letter of agreement under the Railway Labor Act to be effective Nov. 4, 2015.

With the assistance of SMART TD Vice President Jeremy Ferguson, Senior Pilot John Nolan and Local 40 President Dave McLaughry were instrumental in ensuring the CIP agreement would meet the approval of the pilot group. “This is a win-win situation for both the airline and the pilots, as it will surely help keep qualified pilots at a time when the airline needs them most. It will be another nice wage increase following the contract ratification last year that resulted in significant pay raises,” said Ferguson. “The agreement also ensured pilots who meet the criteria are eligible to receive a bonus this quarter ending Dec. 31, 2015, so our captains should see the results of our negotiations in the very near future.”

The following pilots are eligible to participate in the plan and are termed “CIP Eligible”:

  • Currently qualified BE-19000 and EMB-120 captains.
  • Pilots who successfully pass the BE-19000 or EMB-120 captain check ride.
  • EMB-120 FO’s who have passed a captain’s pre-test, but who have not upgraded to captain at the company’s request due to staffing requirements.

The company will also apply the provisions of this program to recruit and to retain first officers for the EMB-120 aircraft. EMB-120 first officers must possess an Airline Transport Pilot/Restricted Airline Transport Pilot certificate and an EMB 120 type rating to be eligible for the CIP.

To receive the quarterly incentive payment (IP), the pilot must be an active employee or on a company- approved leave of absence (as defined in Section 10 of the current labor agreement between the company and SMART TD) on March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31 of the plan year. The quarterly IP will be paid on the first regularly scheduled flight crew payday following the quarter-end dates. The CIP will be taxed at the employee’s normal rates, or the pilot may elect to have the IP contributed in whole or in part into the pilot’s 401(k) account.

The quarterly IP amount to be paid will be calculated by multiplying the applicable amount shown in the quarterly incentive column below, times the percentage of the calendar quarter for which the pilot is active. If the pilot is on a company-approved leave of absence they will be considered in active status for leave periods up to 15 days. Leave time in excess of 15 days will be deducted from the period of active employment status in the quarter. 

 Type Aircraft/Rating

 Quarterly Incentive 

 Full Year Incentive 
(illustration only)

BE-1900 D Captain

$1,250

$5,000

 BE-1900 D Pre-test EMB-120 FO 

$1,250

$5,000

EMB-120 Captain

$1,875

$7,500

EM B-120 ATP/R-ATP FO

$750

$3,000