The union representing more than 4,500 Air Canada pilots has reached an agreement in principal that would allow a combination with the much larger labour group, Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA).

The Air Canada Pilots Association and ALPA recently signed a “merger agreement”, which has been approved by Air Canada’s master elected council and will now be voted upon by the airline’s pilots and ALPA’s executive council and board.

A220-300-4 (1)

Source: Air Canada

An Air Canada A220-300

“This milestone brings both associations one step closer to achieving the pilots’ joint goal of advancing the piloting profession and aviation safety in Canada and the United States,” the unions say. “By working in unity, we are confident we will be stronger together.”

The Air Canada pilots’ union is the largest such labour group in Canada, representing both passenger and cargo pilots.

The tentative agreement was signed following a major win for ALPA – a new contract for Delta Air Lines pilots that includes $7 billion in cumulative increases over the next four years, for a 34% pay raise by 2026.

Pilots across the industry have been winning hefty pay raises amid the pilot shortage and more general wage inflation, with US carriers such as Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines recently concluding new contract negotiations.

Air Canada reported making C$168 million ($125 million) in the fourth quarter of 2022, its first profitable quarter since the end of 2019.