Pilots ratify contract with Spirit Airlines

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MIRAMAR, Fla. (AP) — Pilots for Spirit Airlines have ratified a five-year contract that will raise pay rates by an average 43 percent.

The airline and the Air Line Pilots Association said Wednesday that 70 percent of pilots who voted favored the agreement.

The union says the contract also includes double-digit contributions to pilots' retirement plans and job-protection provisions.

CEO Robert Fornaro says the contract will improve efficiency and reliability.

The low-cost carrier has clashed with its pilots at times. Last year Spirit said it lost $45 million when 850 flights were canceled because of what it called an illegal work slowdown. A federal judge ordered pilots back to work after cancellations sparked a passenger melee at a Florida airport.

Shares of Spirit Airlines Inc. rose $1.09, or 2.8 percent, to close at $39.84.

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