AP News

United Continental pilots merge seniority lists


CHICAGO (AP) — Pilots from United and Continental airlines are close to flying in the same cockpits.

The pilot's union announced Wednesday that a three-member arbitration panel has established a merged seniority list, which is final and binding.

The two airlines merged in 2010, and pilots approved a joint union contract in December.

But they also needed a merged list that ranks who was hired when. Seniority is important to pilots because it dictates who gets the most favorable schedules, who flies which planes, and who gets laid off first.

It's not as simple as looking at a list of the dates on which pilots were hired. Merged seniority lists typically take into account whether pilots were on furlough and what their career prospects were at their respective airline. Merging the pilot seniority list can be one of the most contentious parts of an airline merger.

The list means the airline can begin scheduling pilots from United and Continental to fly together once technical issues with scheduling have been dealt with.

"We are pleased the seniority list has been issued and look forward to having a unified pilot group," the airline said in a prepared statement.

All 12,000 pilots from both airlines were part of the Air Line Pilots Association before the merger. They are expected to elect a combined Master Executive Council in October, the union said.

Shares of Chicago-based United Continental Holdings Inc. rose 59 cents, or 2 percent, to $29.24 in afternoon trading.


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