Friday, April 15, 2011

"It's On!" Southwest Airlines and AirTran pilots to commence seniority integration talks

Pilots at Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways have agreed to begin discussions on seniority integration before the two companies merge.

Pilot cooperation is a boost for the two companies as they prepare for closing the deal, pending approval from antitrust enforcers at the US Justice Department.

The Southwest buyout of smaller AirTran is expected to close this quarter.

Thursday's agreement sets in motion a process for negotiating a seniority list.

The airlines' pilot groups are represented by different unions, and seniority determines pay and benefits as well as which planes pilots fly and what schedules they work.

A smooth transition would help the carrier meet promised efficiency gains from the merger


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