Pilots at Delta Air lines Inc. have made a deal for a new contract with the airline, their union said on Tuesday.
It's a rare early agreement. Delta's pilot contract was due for changes after the end of this year.
Neither the Air Line Pilots Association nor the airline released details of the agreement. It still needs the approval of union leaders at Delta, and then rank-and-file pilots will have to approve it. But the early agreement is a signal that it's unlikely to be controversial for pilots.
Pilots are the only large unionized group at Delta. Pilots at the other two big international U.S. airlines -- United and American -- are both locked in difficult negotiations. Pilots at United are trying to reach a joint contract to cover the whole airline after its merger with Continental. American is reorganizing under bankruptcy protection and pushing for deep concessions from its pilots. If Delta pilots approve the deal, the airline will get labor peace at a time when its competitors are going through a difficult patch with their workers.
Delta spokeswoman Gina Laughlin said reaching a deal with the union "has been a high priority for Delta since negotiations began in March."
Shares of Atlanta-based Delta fell 21 cents to $11.22 in afternoon trading.