Alaska Airlines, Virgin America and the Association of Flight Attendants have reached a tentative merger agreement for the airline’s 5,400 flight attendants.
Alaska Airlines says the agreement includes “competitive” pay rises, an increase in retirement contributions and quality-of-life benefits. It also means the carrier can begin to negotiate the next steps for integrating its flight attendant work groups with those of Virgin America, according to Jeff Butler, vice president of guest and inflight services at Alaska Airlines.
A ratification vote by flight attendants to accept the agreement is expected to be completed in April, after which point the carrier can begin taking steps such as combining seniority lists, cross training on Boeing and Airbus aircraft and integration of crew scheduling systems, which Alaska Airlines says will be completed in 2019.
The news comes after Alaska Airlines and Virgin America were granted a single operating certificate by the Federal Aviation Administration and is another step in integrating the two airlines.