Some 11,000 pilots represented by the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) are set to vote on a tentative agreement for a new five-year contract that would run through 2028.

The pilots’ union for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines said that its 25-member board of directors voted on 20 December to release the proposed contract for a full vote from members, after previously agreeing in principle to the contract’s terms.

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737

Source: Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines’ pilots are set to vote on a tentative new contract

The pilots will vote on the new contract until 22 January. 

“The agreement provides significant gains in compensation, with pay rate increases over the next four years,” the union says. “The deal also includes improvements to work rules and flying schedules, better disability coverage and increases to retirement benefits.”

The proposed contract is advancing after more than three years of negotiations. Earlier this year, Southwest’s pilots voted in favour of a strike and SWAPA request to be released from federal mediation, which had been ongoing since September 2022. 

“Our membership has fought for almost four years to reach an agreement with Southwest Airlines,” says Casey Murray, president of SWAPA. “They now have the opportunity to evaluate this deal and cast their vote accordingly.”

Southwest says the contract would give its pilots “industry-leading pay rates and numerous quality-of-life enhancements”, adding that the union will discuss details of the deal with its members.