Alaska Air Pilots Approve New Contract

Pilots at Alaska Airlines approved a new four-year contract that restores pay increases, the pilots union and airline said Tuesday.

The pact, effective April 1, was approved by 84 percent of the 95 percent of pilots who voted.

Pilots hired after ratification will participate in a 401(k) program as opposed to the company's defined benefit pension plan, which will be closed to new hires, according to the statement from the union and carrier.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and Alaska Airlines began negotiating in January 2007 and reached a tentative agreement last month.

The pilots' previous contract, awarded by an arbitrator in May 2005, cut pilot pay by between 21 and 35 percent, the statement said.

"While this contract doesn't restore everything. It does provide increases in pay and improvements in our work schedule and retirement flexibility, while allowing our company to remain poised for success," said Captain Bill Shivers, chairman of the Alaska Master Executive Council of ALPA.

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