United Continental pilots to fly in each other's metal in 2013

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United Continental expects to have the pilots of both subsidiaries in each other's aircraft in the first half of 2013 following the completion of the seniority integration.

"We hope we will be in a position to have seniority lists worked out, and have pilots in each other's metal in the first half of next year," says the Star Alliance carrier's chief executive Jeff Smisek today at the Deutsche Bank Aviation & Transportation Conference in New York.

The carrier and its pilots' union, the Air Line Pilots Association, are negotiating a tentative agreement that will hopefully be ratified in the fourth quarter of this year, adds Smisek.

The union's leadership and the carrier struck an agreement in principle in early August on economic issues in the agreement and are continuing talks on non-economic elements.