(Reuters) - A U.S. judge has said pilots at Allegiant Travel Co do not have grounds to strike, affirming an order from a month earlier that had temporarily blocked a walkout, the company said in a statement on Saturday.
The decision prevents a strike that could have disrupted the travel of thousands of passengers, the airline said. The pilots union said it will file an expedited appeal of the decision because it believes the court injunction is not in accordance with federal law.
"With the threat of a strike lifted, Allegiant looks forward to directing its time and energy back to the negotiating table," the company said.
Contract talks have taken place for more than two years without success. After posting profit above analysts' expectations last month, Allegiant said it would raise pilots wages by 5 percent to 7 percent, effective May 1.
The pilots union, Airline Professionals Association Teamsters Local 1224, said Allegiant had not abided by a July 2014 federal court injunction that directed the airline to restore the pilots' benefits and work rule protections to previously negotiated levels.
"We believe our strike to restore the status quo is legal," pilot Cameron Graff said in a statement on Saturday.
"Rather than spend all this time in court, pilots are calling on Allegiant to fully restore our contract so we can focus on our work, sit down to negotiate a future contract and work together to secure the future prosperity of Allegiant and the Allegiant Pilots," he said.
(Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in New York; Editing by Alan Crosby)