SouthWest pilots reach agreement with AirTran Airways


NEW YORK (Reuters) -Southwest Airlines' pilots union has reached an agreement in principal with the pilots union for AirTran Airways, the low-cost airline it bought in May.

Southwest said in a statement released on Saturday that its pilots union and AirTran Airways pilots union had agreed to integrate its seniority lists for pilots and avoid an arbitration process.

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The boards of both unions still need to approve the deal before it can go through.

Southwest Airlines completed its acquisition of AirTran Holdings for about $1 billion in May, positioning itself to challenge bigger carriers in big U.S. East Coast markets while eliminating a major low-cost rival.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker, Editing by Maureen Bavdek)