Southwest reaches deal with pilots over new plane

AP News
Posted: Oct 14, 2010 4:58 PM
Southwest reaches deal with pilots over new plane

Southwest Airlines has a tentative labor deal with its pilots' union that will allow it to use a new Boeing plane.

The airline said Thursday that directors of the union unanimously approved a tentative deal covering use of the Boeing 737-800.

As part of the deal, the union's labor contract with Southwest will be extended one year through August 2012.

Carl Kuwitzky, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, said the company and union were interested in the extra revenue that a larger aircraft could bring in.

The union said the agreement includes profit-based pay raises in 2011 and 2012 beyond the 2 percent increase pilots are due next year.

Southwest has more than 5,800 pilots, and they will vote on the deal in November. Flight attendants represented by the Transport Workers Union reached a tentative agreement on the 737-800 last month, and a membership ratification vote is pending.

Southwest, based in Dallas, uses only Boeing 737s. The 737-800 is bigger than the models currently used by the airline. Southwest is considering converting current orders for Boeing 737-700s to the 800 model.

Shares of Southwest fell 11 cents to close at $12.86.