The union for United Airlines' pilots endorsed a tentative agreement in mid December. The contract will be sent to the union membership for a ratification vote.
"We were faced with a tough choice: Negotiate with the company to reach a consensual agreement that would inevitably involve further concessions, or proceed in the bankruptcy court where we faced a dangerous risk of an imposed and totally unacceptable outcome," says union representative Mark Bathurst.
While terms of the tentative agreement were not disclosed, Logistics Today's sister publication Air Transport World reports United had been looking for $725 million per year in savings from employees — $191 million of that from pilots.
Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines' pilots were unable to reach an agreement by the selfimposed deadline of December 15. Alaska and its pilots have been in negotiations for 16 months. The next step is arbitration.
Continental Airlines also has finalized changes to wages and salaries, benefits and work rules for reservations workers and food service employees that will result in $22 million in annual savings. "These difficult and painful decisions will enable us to be a long-term survivor," explains Gordon Bethune, chairman and CEO of the airline.
The pilots unions representing Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Braathens have announced an agreement which harmonizes salary and working conditions and could clear the way for operational integration of the cockpit crews once ratified by members. SAS Braathens management notes the agreement would provide efficiency gains without any job losses.