Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL:US) reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with its pilots union seven months before the existing accord comes up for amendment, in an industry where negotiations often drag on for years.
Leaders of the Air Line Pilots Association’s Delta chapter and its panel that negotiated the contract are meeting in Atlanta today to discuss the terms, Tim O’Malley, chairman of the union’s executive committee, told members in a letter today.
“The negotiating committee and its expanded team have accomplished a great deal of work in the last two months, a process that normally takes years,” O’Malley wrote.
The agreement must be approved by the union’s executive committee and then by a majority of the 10,850 rank-and-file pilots before it takes effect. Terms of the accord, such as whether it includes pay raises or a change to the so-called scope clause that determines what size planes regional partners can fly, can’t be disclosed yet, Kelly Regus, a union spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.
“Reaching a tentative agreement with the Air Line Pilots Association has been a high priority for Delta since negotiations began in March,” Gina Laughlin, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based company, said in an e-mail. “We are pleased to have reached this agreement.”
Delta won’t comment on details until the contract is final, she said.
The time required to reach the accord at Delta, the world’s second-largest airline, is in contrast to what has occurred at the carrier’s U.S. rivals.
United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL:US), the world’s largest carrier, has been trying to negotiate a joint contract with the United and Continental pilots since the airlines merged in October 2010.
AMR Corp. (AAMRQ:US)’s American Airlines, which is operating under bankruptcy protection, hasn’t been able to reach a contract with its pilots after more than five years of negotiating. US Airways Group Inc. (LCC:US) has failed to get a combined agreement for US Airways and America West pilots since the carriers merged in 2005.
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