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Fri, Sep 11, 2009

Southwest And Pilots Union Agree In Principal To A Contract

Codesharing Hurdle Overcome In Negotiations

It's not yet a done deal, but Southwest Airlines and its pilots union have agreed in principal to a new contract after two and a half years of negotiations.

One of the major sticking points was codesharing, and the new agreement allows only four percent of Southwest's routes to be flown by other airlines under codeshare agreements. A previous contract offer, which was voted down, had a 6 percent cap. Southwest has tentative codesharing agreements with Canadian carrier WestJet Airlines Inc. and Mexican carrier Volaris. Southwest's passengers could begin flying those airlines under codeshares in 2010.

The Dallas Morning News reports that the new contract, which would be open for amendment on Aug. 31, 2011, gives pilots three raises of 2 percent each, retroactive to Aug. 31, 2006, the current contract's amendable date. It leaves open the possibility of two other raises if the airline is profitable, and increased the company's contribution to the pilot's 401(k) accounts.

Soutwest's pilots union represents more than 5,900 pilots. The contract is currently under review by the Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association board, which will make a decision as to whether to send it out to the membership for ratification.




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