Alaska Airlines, pilots’ union reach contract agreement

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Alaska Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association, International reached a tentative agreement on a five-year contract for the Seattle-based carrier's roughly 1,480 pilots.

The proposed contract, which the airline expects will be voted on by pilots in mid-July, calls for pay raises and includes provisions that increase productivity and make "quality of life" improvements, according to a statement from the airline.

The agreement comes only months after the pilots' current contract became amendable on April 1. The current contract was ratified in May 2009.

The airline says its representatives and those with the union, known as ALPA, have been negotiating new contract terms since last summer, the airline says.

Gary Beck, Alaska' vice president of flight operations, thanks negotiators for reaching an agreement on a long-term contract, which he says is unusual in the airline industry.

"By working together, the negotiators were able to develop an agreement that addresses the four cornerstones that are important to our pilots while also meeting the needs of the company," he says.

Alaska Airlines was not immediately available to respond to questions about the contract.

ALPA's leaders are recommending that Alaska's pilots ratify the agreement, the airline says.

Chris Notaro, chairman of ALPA's master executive council at Alaska Airlines notes the parties reached an agreement remarkably quickly.

"It is common for airline negotiations to last for years beyond the contract amendable date," he says in the statement. "The fact that we were able to reach an agreement so close to our amendable date is indicative of the commitment of both parties to reaching an agreement that recognises the role the pilots play in the success of Alaska Airlines, and that allows Alaska Airlines to continue to prosper."