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Fri, Apr 10, 2009

ALPA Prepares to Welcome AirTran Airways Pilots

NPA Votes Overwhelmingly To Merge With ALPA

The Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l said Friday the union is "extremely pleased" by the decision by AirTran pilots to vote in support of a merger with the pilots union.

A landslide 87% of AirTran pilots cast votes in support of merging with ALPA, with more than 94% of eligible AirTran pilots voting. The National Pilots Association (NPA) currently represents the nearly 1,700 pilots of AirTran Airways.

"With this decisive vote, the AirTran pilots made it clear they want representation by a strong international union that is run by airline pilots and for airline pilots," said Capt. John Prater, president of ALPA. "We look forward to working with the AirTran pilots and to providing the union’s unparalleled professional resources and expertise, as well as the support of other ALPA pilots in Atlanta and across the country, to help them achieve and enforce the fair contract they deserve."

As ANN has reported, the NPA has been locked in contract talks with AirTran for years, with little success. Both sides reached a tentative agreement in May 2007, but AirTran later withdrew the offer. Since that time, neither side has budged from their position -- pilots want more pay, while the airline wants to trim its pilot-related costs by 12.5 percent.

The NPA and AirTran have since entered mediation... while union members recalled their former president and vice-president. In December 2008, NPA officials met with representatives with the Teamsters about joining that union, but the Teamsters declined.

The merger decision must be ratified by ALPA's Executive Board when it meets on April 28-29. If that happens as expected, the merger will be effective on May 1, 2009.

FMI: www.airtran.com, www.alpa.org

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