- The airline is the first of the major carriers to strike a deal with its pilots.
- United reached unique agreements with its pilots during the Covid pandemic to keep them trained for a rebound.
- The deal likely includes higher pay and other improvements for pilots.
United Airlines and its pilots' labor union have reached an agreement on new contract terms, the first of the major carriers to strike a deal since the start of the Covid pandemic. The crisis roiled the industry and exacerbated a pilot shortage and training backlog.
The Air Line Pilots Association and United didn't disclose the terms of the deal on Friday, but they will likely include higher pay and other improvements.
United has had perhaps the least contentious relationship with its pilots' union of the major carriers and struck early deals during the pandemic to keep aviators on staff and trained.
"United Airlines was the only airline to work with our pilots union to reach an agreement during COVID," CEO Scott Kirby said in a LinkedIn post. "It's not surprising that we are now the first airline to get an Agreement in Principle for an industry leading new pilot contract."
The agreement still faces a vote by the union and later, by pilots.
United isn't immune to the pilot shortage. The Chicago-based airline, like other carriers, has had to cut back on routes and park planes because of a shortage of pilots who fly for the smaller regional carriers that feed its network.
On Friday at 1 p.m. ET, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., will hold a hearing on the future aviation workforce, which will take place at the United Aviate Academy, United's new flight school, in Goodyear, Arizona.