Agreement May Avert Strike by Delta Pilots

Agreement May Avert Strike by Delta Pilots

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Gene Kennedy reportingDays before thousands start heading to airports for holiday travel, Delta pilots threatened to strike. But now, a new deal.

Delta Air Lines reached a tentative agreement with its pilots' union late last night. The deal could keep pilots from striking and save the company a bundle.

Right after Delta declared bankruptcy last September, travelers told us they really were not worried. Flying would go on as usual, but not if the pilots strike.

If they walk, all Delta flyers are affected. And this tentative deal could prevent that.

Here's what the plan calls for.

A 14-percent wage reduction. Delta pilots make on average $169,393 a year. With the cut, it would be reduced $145,678. With 6,000 pilots, that would save Delta more than $152-million dollars a year.

It's a big cut, but not as deep as Delta originally wanted.

The agreement came late last night. The bankruptcy court in New York still has to approve. And the entire pilots' union has until December 28th to vote on it.

Both sides are hoping for a permanent agreement by March next year.

So, not quite a done deal, but close. And the timing couldn't be better. This comes just a couple days after the pilots' union decided to ask its members to authorize a strike. But now with this tentative agreement, both sides have asked the bankruptcy court to suspend the current hearing, which is about Delta's current contract with the pilots.

Some of the cuts we've told you about will take effect Thursday on an interim basis, until a final deal is approved.

Delta has lost more than 11-billion dollars since January 2001. The nation's third largest airline declared bankruptcy in September after rising fuel costs. This deal could be at least part of Delta's saving grace.

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