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December 30, 2021

How Dues are Spent at the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)

by Anne Paddock

The Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA) is the largest airline pilot union in the world representing more than 61,000 pilots from 38 US and Canadian airlines.  Based in McLean, Virgina, ALPA is a tax-exempt non-profit 501 (c) (5) whose primary source of income is membership dues.

In 2019, ALPA reported total revenue of $235 million, most of which ($223 million) came from membership dues (note:  $223 million/61,000 equals $3,600 per member although actual dues are approximately 1.9% of gross monthly earnings.  So, if a pilot is earning $200,000 annually or $16,700 per month gross, the annual monthly dues are about $300 or $3,600 annually.

Expenses totaled $178 million (including $3 million in depreciation) – 76% of total revenue – in 2019 categorized as follows:

  • $72 million (31% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $49 million (21% of revenue):  Flight Pay Loss and Related Expenses
  • $ 22 million (9% of revenue):  Travel and Conferences
  • $ 17 million (7% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $ 12 million (5% of revenue):  Fees for Services
  • $  6 million (3% of revenue):  Other Expenses

As illustrated above, compensation and flight pay loss are the two largest expenses for the union at 52% of total revenue or $121 million, followed by travel and conferences and office-related expenses totaling $39 million or 16% of total revenue.

378 employees received $72 million in compensation which equates to an average compensation of $190,000. However, only 209 of the 378 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation with the most highly compensated employee reported to be Joseph DePete, the President who received more than $1.3 million in 2019.

Using the above information, every $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 31:  Compensation

-$ 21:  Flight Pay Loss

-$  9:  Travel and Conferences

-$  7:  Office-Related Expenses

-$. 5:  Fees for Services

-$  3:  Other Expenses

-$ 76:  Total Expenses

 $ 24: Remaining Revenue:  To General Fund

There are three things worth pointing out:  (1) $21 out of every $100 was spent on flight pay loss; (2) $55 out of every $100 was spent on administrative and operating expenses for the organization; and (3) the union spent significantly less than they raised – nearly $58 million in 2019. These funds were added to the general fund which increased from $154 million at the beginning of the year to $238 million at year end (note:  unrealized gains on investments and changes in assets are attributable to $27 million of the improvement).

To read the IRS Form 990 (2019), click here.

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