United pilots ratify agreement

Washington DC
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United Airlines pilots ratified a new joint labour agreement by a 34-percentage point margin today.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)-represented pilots voted 67% for the four-year agreement, with 37% voting against, according to the union. Nearly 98% of the 10,193 eligible pilots voted.

The contract brings legacy Continental and legacy United pilots under a single agreement for the first time since the two airlines merged in 2010.

"The ratification of this agreement is an important step forward for our pilots and the company," says Fred Abbott, senior vice-president of flight operations at United, in a statement. "We look forward to the efficiencies and teamwork we will achieve as our pilots become one group once they complete their seniority integration."

"We call on United management to seize this opportunity for a new beginning, and to work with us as equal, respected partners in building United Airlines as the world's preeminent airline," says captain Jay Heppner, chairman of the United master executive council, and captain Jay Pierce, chairman of the Continental master executive council, in a joint statement.

The new agreement will allow United to initially increase the number of large regional aircraft in its fleet to 255 by 1 January 2016, if it meets certain block hour ratio requirements. It will have 168 large regional aircraft in its fleet at the end of December.

The contract also allows for new "small narrowbody aircraft" and the reduction in the number of regional jets with 50 seats or less.