DALLAS, Sept 15, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — The decision to bring the Boeing 737-800 into the Southwest Airlines fleet moved one step closer today as the Executive Board of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 556, representing more than 9,700 Southwest Flight Attendants unanimously approved a tentative agreement reached with the Company. The tentative agreement will now be presented to members of TWU Local 556 for a ratification vote.
"Southwest has been evaluating the opportunity to introduce the Boeing 737-800 into our fleet as part of our domestic network, and an important step in our due diligence was to discuss contract reopener provisions for a new aircraft with our Flight Attendant and Pilot unions," said Mike Van de Ven, Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. "The TWU negotiating committee quickly grasped the potential benefits along with the added operational complexities associated with adding the -800 to our fleet. The fact that we can have these discussions over the course of a couple of meetings and quickly find a common ground that is a win for our Company and our Flight Attendants is a testament to the collaboration and longterm vision of the Flight Attendants' Union Leadership."
If the Company pursues the -800, a joint committee would meet to work on the logistical details related to scheduling and bidding procedures that adding a fourth Flight Attendant will require. If approved by a majority vote of the Flight Attendants, their current contract also will be extended by one year, becoming amendable May 31, 2013, and also include the potential for wage rate increases based on the Company's financial performance.
The decision to add the -800 still isn't final; we are still in discussion with our Pilots Union, SWAPA, and are continuing to evaluate network and configuration options. As such, any details regarding firm orders with Boeing, timing, and quantity of deliveries are still to be determined.