American Airlines Pilots and the Allied Pilots Association (APA) have reached a principle agreement after over four years of negotiations, putting an end to potential strikes that have been looming for some time. This comes as a sigh of relief for passengers who are gearing up for peak travel season, especially after the prolonged strike by Air Traffic Controllers in France resulted in the cancellation of over 1,800 flights and delays that left thousands of travelers stranded.
American Airlines pilots had been protesting at the carrier’s major hubs including Dallas-Fort Worth International airport after their union had voted to authorize a strike. The representative with the pilots’ union announced pilots are feeling supported after reaching the principle agreement with the airline. The timing couldn’t be better, as summer travel season is just starting and the numbers suggest that it will be a busy one, with busy ticket counters, packed security lines and excited passengers.
Despite recent attack at Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey, air travel is back at high levels and in the last week the TSA screened more than 2.6 million people. That’s more than the last two years at this time. Even travelers who have been apprehensive about flying seem to be feeling confident again. “Feel totally comfortable. Again, we’re kind of passed that we feel and we’re excited to do things as a family and that includes flying,\” said Merric Polloway, a traveler.
After careful negotiations, the Allied Pilots Association (APA) is expected to approve the tentative agreement presented by American Airlines. This will be followed by a comprehensive voting process with all 15,000 pilots in the union getting a copy of the proposal for their final vote. “If everybody’s done their job on both sides, then the membership will look at this and say, \”This deal is what I’ve been looking for,” said Dennis Tajer, Communications Director for APA.
According to Tajer, the agreement will entail salary increases, but that’s not the biggest change. The big change has to deal with better work/life balance for pilots. It’s about ‘their quality of life, he said. Any successful conclusion of negotiations is great news for the pilots and passengers of American Airlines, who can now look forward to an enjoyable, comfortable and safe travel experience.