Southwest Airlines has reached a tentative agreement with the independent union representing its pilots covering the addition of the Boeing 737-800 to its fleet.

The carrier revealed its evaluations of the 737-800 in August of this year, and said at that time it aimed to make a decision by 1 December to support deliveries beginning in early 2012.

At that time the carrier initiated contract talks with pilots and flight attendants as part of contractual requirements to operate the aircraft. Southwest management reached a tentative agreement with flight attendants on 15 September.

Commenting on the tentative agreements Southwest chief operating officer Mike Van de Ven says: "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."

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news