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Southwest Airlines pilots agree tentative agreement over 737-800 introduction

Southwest Airlines’ plan to put the Boeing 737-800 into its fleet has moved another step closer as the Board of Directors for the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA), representing more than 5,800 pilots, unanimously approved a tentative agreement reached with the company.

The tentative agreement will now be presented to the full SWAPA membership for a ratification vote.

“Two months ago, we initiated discussions with both our flight attendants and pilots as part of our contractual requirements to operate the 737-800,” said Mike Van de Ven, Southwest Airlines executive vice president and chief operating officer. “I want to congratulate both SWAPA and TWU 556, the Union that represents our flight attendants, for recognising the potential long-term benefits associated with adding the -800 to our fleet. We are still evaluating the needs for training, scheduling, aircraft configuration, and other regulatory considerations, but this is an important step in the due diligence process.”

If approved by a majority vote of the pilots, their current contract will be extended by one year, becoming amendable 31 August 2012, and also include the potential for wage rate increases based on the company’s financial performance.

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