NetJets pilots union chastises management

By Doug Gollan, March 10, 2023

The NetJets pilots union is stepping up its rhetoric with a press release saying the unit of Berkshire Hathaway has to do a better job retaining pilots

The NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) is increasing its publicity campaign as it seeks to improve compensation.

NetJets‘ executive management “refuses to take proactive steps to attract and to retain increasingly scarce pilot talent,” NJASAP wrote in a press release yesterday.

It follows a series of information pickets last month during the Super Bowl in Arizona and in Palm Beach, a busy airport for the world’s largest private jet operator.

“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 Capt. Pedro Leroux said in the latest missive.

He added, “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.”

Leroux continued, “NetJets owners and customers deserve more than flying in the back of a flight school aircraft. Unless the fractional takes aggressive steps to pursue and to retain the best aviators in the marketplace, what was once the pinnacle of an aviator’s career will transition into a stepping stone toward the nation’s Part 121 carriers.”

A separate union official had told a Palm Beach television station, “To be clear, NetJets does not have a hiring problem currently, but they want to double in size, and that means they’re going to have to hire a lot more people. Without being competitive, we don’t think that can happen.”

NJASAP member survey

However, according to a post on the union’s website, “Twenty-two percent of NJASAP members have indicated they plan to move on from NetJets within one year’s time if the ongoing interim contract negotiation fails to produce a competitive agreement – and the vast majority of those pilots are within their first five years of service with NetJets.”

The union says, according to the January survey, only 44 percent of its members would recommend NetJets to other pilots seeking employment with a career destination carrier.

In January 2021, pilots ratified revised agreements extending the current agreement through the end of 2026.

While NetJets made news last year by revealing it had sold all of its delivery slots through the beginning of next year, demand for private jet flying is falling.

While Berkshire Hathaway doesn’t break out financial results for NetJets, publicly traded Wheels Up revealed that advance sales of deposits dropped from $712 million to $497 million in the second half of 2022 compared to 2021.

A spokesperson for NetJets didn’t respond by publication.

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