Southwest, AirTran and pilots reach integration agreement

The respective unions representing Southwest Airlines and AirTran pilots plus both airline companies have signed a four-party process agreement that provides for the two pilot groups to begin their seniority integration discussions prior to legal closing of the AirTran acquisition.

The agreement also outlines provisions of an implementation schedule in the event an agreement is reached on an integrated seniority list (ISL). Southwest anticipates closing on its acquisition of AirTran during the second quarter of 2011.

“This is yet another important step in the overall process of bringing these two great carriers together,” declared Mike Van de Ven, Southwest Airlines executive vice-president and chief operating officer. “I applaud both sides for signing this important agreement that lays the groundwork for bringing together these two hard-working pilot groups.”

The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) and the Air Line Pilots’ Association (ALPA) can now begin the work of integrating seniority lists in accordance with the McCaskill-Bond Act. The four-party process agreement also creates a timeline for SWAPA and ALPA to reach an ISL agreement. If an agreement is not reached during this timeframe, the matter will be sent to arbitration and a new implementation process will have to be negotiated.

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