Pilots differ on seniority terms

  • Updated: October 6, 2008 - 9:44 PM

Delta Air Lines pilots want their seniority list merged with Northwest Airlines' pilot list based on pilots' status and aircraft category, while Northwest pilots insist the fair and equitable method is to merge the lists based on date of hire.

The arguments were laid out during closed-door arbitration hearings that began Thursday at a hotel near Los Angeles. News media have been barred from the hearings, which will continue later this month and again next month.

The two groups have been in a stalemate over seniority after Delta acquires Northwest later this year, although they have approved a joint collective bargaining agreement covering more than 12,000 pilots.

Seniority brings priority for choice of vacations, routes and the bigger airplanes with higher pay. Northwest pilots tend to be older than Delta pilots because many of Delta's senior pilots retired in the run-up to its 2005 bankruptcy filing.

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