Southwest Airlines and its pilots’ union, Airlines Pilots’ Association, have agreed a deal to allow the carrier to operate the 737-800. The agreement, which is still subject to vote, will pay Southwest pilots the same rate for the Boeing 737-800 as for the Boeing 737-500s or the 737-300s and 737-700s. The pilots will be able to earn better pay under the agreement, on top of the 2% increase they have secured for 2011. Southwest has denied this means it has definitely agreed to order the longer Boeing aircraft but stated it had moved that decision “closer to reality.”

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