Southwest And AirTran Pilots Reached Agreement On Seniority List


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Southwest And AirTran Pilots Reached Agreement On Seniority List

By Jim Douglas

September 25, 2011 - Southwest Airlines announce a tentative agreement has been reached between the Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association (SWAPA), the union representing Southwest Airlines Pilots, and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the union representing the pilots of AirTran Airways.  

This tentative agreement would integrate the two groups' seniority lists. SWAPA's Board of Directors and ALPA's Master Executive Council both approved the agreement, allowing the membership of each Pilot's Union to review the proposed agreement and ultimately put it to a ratification vote. Southwest Airlines finalized closing of the acquisition of AirTran Holdings, Inc. on May 2, 2011.  

"The unions and Company negotiating teams never lost focus on the ultimate goal of creating an integrated seniority list and transition plan for our Pilots outside of arbitration," said Mike Van de Ven, Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

"All parties took ownership of their role in the integration of AirTran into Southwest Airlines, and I want to congratulate our teams for delivering what we feel is a fair and equitable deal for both sides."  

"We are proud of both Pilot groups' initiative and persistence to reach a tentative agreement," added Capt. Chuck Magill, Southwest Airlines Vice President of Flight Operations. "History has shown the integration of two large airlines is no easy task, but our Pilots continue to demonstrate forward-thinking Leadership through this process, and their efforts should be recognized and commended."  

Reaching a negotiated agreement with the two Pilot groups avoids the arbitration process and gives both groups ownership of the combined list. Each Pilot group will now spend the next four to six weeks reviewing the tentative agreement before putting it up for a ratification vote.  

SWAPA represents more than 6,000 Southwest Airlines Pilots, and ALPA represents close to 1,600 AirTran Pilots. Southwest Airlines Co. is based in Dallas, Texas. Southwest is the largest airline in the United States, based on domestic passengers carried, as of June 30, 2010.


Southwest operates more than 3,400 flights a day, as of March 2011, utilizing a fleet of 552 aircraft. Southwest Airlines traces its roots to the March 15, 1967 incorporation of Air Southwest Co. by Rollin King and Herb Kelleher to provide service within the state of Texas.

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