American Airlines pilots reach an agreement on new contract

Credit: REUTERS/Mike Blake

By Rajesh Kumar Singh and Allison Lampert

CHICAGO, May 19 (Reuters) - Pilots at American Airlines AAL.O have reached an agreement in principle on a new contract, their union said on Friday.

The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents over 13,000 pilots at the Texas-based carrier, said it will move forward with completing contractual language of the contract before presenting it to its board for an approval.

The union did not share the details of the new contract.

But two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said the deal is for a four-year contract that has pay rates comparable to the wages secured by pilots at Delta Air Lines DAL.N.

It also includes improvements on scheduling, a critical issue for pilots who are seeking better work-life balance in a profession that often requires them to be away for days from their families, they said.

The deal comes over two months after Delta's pilots ratified their contract that includes over $7 billion in cumulative increases in pay and benefits over four years.

It underscores the bargaining power pilots are enjoying as airlines rush to boost staff numbers ahead of what is shaping up to be a busy summer travel season.

American, Delta, United Airlines UAL.O and Southwest Airlines LUV.N are estimated to hire about 8,000 pilots this year.

Analysts at Jefferies estimate the United States is short about 10,000 pilots. This supply-demand gap is projected to last until 2027.

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(Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh and Allison Lampert Editing by Nick Zieminski and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

((rajeshkumar.singh@thomsonreuters.com; +1-313-484-5370; Reuters Messaging: rajeshkumar.singh.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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