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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hawaiian Air, pilots agree to 5-year deal

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Hawaiian Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association yesterday reached a tentative five-year deal.

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After two years of negotiations, Hawaiian Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association yesterday announced a tentative agreement on a five-year contract that would boost pay for Hawaiian pilots.

"We are pleased to have reached this agreement with ALPA during such challenging times in our industry," said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's president and chief executive officer.

He added, "This agreement will provide Hawaiian's pilots an outstanding pay and benefits package while also addressing some of the operational issues that are important to the company."

In September, 98 percent of Hawaiian Airlines pilots voted to authorize a strike, frustrated by the long impasse in contract talks.

At the time, the union said they didn't want to strike but would "if that's what it takes to win a fair and reasonable contract."

Hawaiian has not had a strike in its 81-year history.

Details of the tentative agreement were not released yesterday.

Earlier, the company said it was seeking work-rule changes to boost pilots' productivity, which the company said lags behind that of its competitors.

"We believe this is a positive agreement for our membership," said Eric Sampson, chairman of ALPA's Master Executive Council at Hawaiian. "We are pleased to have been able to achieve improvements in both pay and retirement for our members."

In late October, the union had sent a letter to the National Mediation Board, saying the talks had reached impasse.

The tentative agreement covers 418 pilots at Hawaiian. The agreement is subject to ratification by union members, who are expected to vote on the proposal in the coming weeks.

Hawaiian has reached similar agreements that have been ratified by its flight attendants and its dispatchers, and recently reached a tentative agreement with its airport customer service personnel.

Hawaiian is the state's biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service to Hawai'i from the state's primary visitor markets on the Mainland.

Hawaiian offers nonstop service to Hawai'i from more U.S. gateway cities (10) than any other airline, as well as service to the Philippines, Australia, American Sämoa and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides more than 160 daily jet flights within the Hawaiian Islands.