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Delta Pilots Reach Tentative Agreement

In U.S. Bankruptcy Court since last September, Delta Air Lines said it needed additional salary concessions from the pilots, represented by the Delta Union Master Executive Council (MEC), which is part of the Air Lines Pilot Association, Inc. (ALPA). The tentative agreement must be first okayed by the MEC, then ratified by the pilots and finally approved by the Bankruptcy Court. If under Court protection Delta Air had rejected the contract, pilots had already voted to authorize a strike.

Delta Air is a member of the SkyTeam Alliance, carrying both passengers and cargo. Estimates are that the airline has more than 1,700 daily flights.

The tentative agreement doesn’t mean that everything is settled. Reports indicate that while the agreement covers wages, it does not settle some issues, including benefits and scheduling. On the union’s part, there is no rush to approve the tentative agreement.

In telephone remarks to the union membership, Captain Lee Moak, Delta MEC chairman, says that after receiving a briefing this week from the negotiating committee and debate the matter, and it is approved by the MEC, “then and only then will it be passed to the Delta pilots for membership ratification…. We will not hurry. During the MEC meeting and during any subsequent membership ratification process, we will proceed in an unrushed, methodical manner.”

Industry analysts say that in its weakened financial condition, Delta may be a merger target. Delta has fierce discount carrier competition and serves only two Asian cities where international air traffic is booming.

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