United and Continental pilots to vote on joint agreement

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United Airlines and Continental Airlines pilots will vote on a tentative agreement that would bring the two groups under a single joint contract, a critical part of the integration of the two carriers.

Voting by the more than 12,000 pilots at Chicago-based United Continental Holdings will begin on 1 December and end on 15 December, says the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) master executive councils (MEC) for United and Continental.

The new four-year contract becomes amendable on 31 January 2017.

"Once there is pilot approval of a contract, the operations of the two airlines can finally begin to be integrated," says captain Jay Heppner, chairman of the United MEC, and captain Jay Pierce, chairman of the Continental MEC, in a statement. "We can begin to deliver on the promise of the world's best airline."

The MECs accepted the tentative agreement with United and agreed to send it to the membership for a vote today.

United did not respond to questions by press time.

The airline and the union reached an agreement-in-principal in August.

United and Continental merged in 2010.