Dec 15 Pilots at United Continental Holdings
, the world's biggest airline, have ratified a contract
with the U.S. carrier that will provide enhanced pay and
retirement plan contributions, their union said on Saturday.
The tentative agreement was approved by 67 percent of voting
pilots, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said in a
statement. Some 98 percent of the eligible 10,193 pilots
participated in the voting, which ran from Dec. 1 through
The contract provides benefits such as a lump-sum payment
that averages about $40,000 per pilot, and 16 percent company
contribution to pilots' defined contribution plan, the union
ALPA represents more than 12,000 United Continental pilots.
The agreement was reached after more than two years of
negotiating for a joint collective bargaining agreement with
United Continental, which was formed when United parent UAL Corp
and Continental Airlines merged in 2010.
The contract approval removes a hurdle to fully integrating
the combined company and creating a single workforce.
Union leaders said when the agreement was initially reached
that it would help make economic amends to pilots who had made
concessions during difficult years for the airline industry.
Pilots at United and Continental have been working without
new contracts since they agreed to givebacks in the last decade,
during which time United went into bankruptcy and Continental
took stringent cost-cutting measures.