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Southwest Airlines pilots vote to approve new contract

FILE - A Southwest Airlines jet arrives at Sky Harbor International Airport, Dec. 28, 2022, in Phoenix.
Matt York
FILE - A Southwest Airlines jet arrives at Sky Harbor International Airport, Dec. 28, 2022, in Phoenix.

Southwest Airlines pilots voted to approve a new contract with the Dallas-based carrier on Monday.

The voting period closed at noon with nearly 99% of Southwest Airlines Pilots Association members participating and 92.73% voting to approve the contract.

“The implementation of this contract will take some time to get right,” SWAPA President Casey Murray said in a statement on the union's website. “But we will work with Southwest to make sure that all of the changes that improve our pilots’ quality of life take place as quickly as possible."

The union's board approved a tentative agreement with the airline in December. The contract gives more than 11,000 pilots a 29.15% pay raise upon contract approval, 4% raises in 2025, 2026 and 2027, and a 3.25% raise in 2028, according to the union's statement — the last year of the contract.

The contract also includes improvements to flying schedules, parental leave, disability coverage and retirement benefits.

Pilots with Delta, United and American Airlines also reached contract agreements last year. In a statement, Southwest Airlines said this is the ninth union-represented group to approve a new contract with the carrier since October 2022.

“Our Pilots are world-class aviators who uphold Southwest’s commitments to Safety, Hospitality, and connecting People to what’s important in their lives,” Adam Carlisle, Southwest Airlines' vice president of labor relations, said in a statement Monday. “This agreement justly rewards our Pilots and supports our operational needs.”

Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation fined Southwest a record $140 million over customer service failures during a December 2022 operational meltdown in which the airline canceled and delayed thousands of flights over the holidays.

Got a tip? Email Toluwani Osibamowo at You can follow Toluwani on Twitter @tosibamowo.

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Toluwani Osibamowo is a general assignments reporter for KERA. She previously worked as a news intern for Texas Tech Public Media and copy editor for Texas Tech University’s student newspaper, The Daily Toreador, before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is originally from Plano.