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Continental, Pilots Union Agree on Incentives for Leaves

June 25, 2008

By Bill Hensel Jr., Houston Chronicle

Jun. 25–An agreement has been reached between Continental Airlines and its pilots union regarding voluntary incentives for retirements and leaves.

Continental announced recently it would cut 3,000 jobs and trim flights due to high fuel prices. The union has been working with Continental to try to limit furloughs.

The letter of agreement between the union and management includes schedule modifications and voluntary leaves of absence, said Mark Adams, head of the local pilots union communications committee.

“If we get the levels of participation we are hoping for, it would have a significant impact on the involuntary furloughs of our junior pilots,” he said.

The retirement incentives are focused on pilots who already can leave if they decide to, union spokeswoman Amy Flanagan said.

“These are for senior pilots, who already are eligible to retire,” Flanagan said. “It is a way for them to retire a little earlier than they might have otherwise with a little extra cash.”

The voluntary leave program is for a minimum of 18 months, and pilots who participate would retain benefits during that time, she said.

The union is affiliated with the Air Line Pilots Association.

Continental is grounding 67 jets as it moves to cut capacity.

bill.hensel@chron.com

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