Southwest Airlines is supposed to be the first airline to fly the Boeing’s new 737 MAX, but its pilot union says that won’t happen without a new labor contract.
According to a report from the Dallas Morning News, at issue is the fact the MAX isn’t specifically listed in the existing contract as an aircraft the pilots can fly.
Southwest, however, says that since the plane is a new-engine variant of the 737 — the plane that comprises the airline’s entire fleet — it doesn’t have to be specifically named.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, which covers the carrier’s 8,000 pilots, rejected the latest contract proposal from the airline in November.
The two sides will begin new negotiations later this month, with the pending arrival of the 737 MAX expected to add new urgency at the bargaining table.
The planes will arrive with a big dose of help from Wichita, where Spirit AeroSystems builds 70 percent of the 737, including the MAX variant, for Boeing.
Southwest is slated to take delivery of the first 737 MAX in the third quarter of 2017, though Boeing has hinted that it could be ready to start delivering the new aircraft to customers as much as six months earlier than that.
(Daniel McCoy - Wichita Business Journal)