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American Airlines pilots seek new contract negotiations



FILE PHOTO: Pilots talk as they look at the tail of an American Airlines aircraft following the announcement of the planned merger of American Airlines and US Airways, at Dallas-Ft Worth International Airport February 14, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Stone

(Reuters) – American Airlines (AAL.O) pilots union on Monday urged the carrier to begin negotiations for a new labor contract in January to boost compensation.

The airline signed a five-year contract with its pilots in early 2015 after exiting Chapter 11 bankruptcy, providing immediate pay raises of 23 percent and subsequent annual increases of three percent.

American’s emergence from bankruptcy in 2013 by merging with US Airways created the largest airline by passenger traffic in the world, yet overall compensation still lags that of rivals Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) and United Airlines (UAL.O), a spokesman for Allied Pilots Association (APA) told Reuters.

The union, which represents 15,000 American Airlines pilots, said “it’s time” to move beyond the labor contract borne out of bankruptcy, to pursue a revised agreement amid booming demand for air travel.

APA President Daniel Carey said the union intended to conclude the negotiations for the new contract in a matter of months rather than years.

American said it was eager to build on its relationship with its pilots as they enter negotiations. The carrier gave its pilots a mid-contract pay increase in 2017 here.

Reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila