Spirit Airlines has reached a tentative agreement with its pilots union that will end the union’s nearly weeklong strike and allow the airline to resume operations Friday. No specifics on the deal are available yet, but union leader Sean Creed sounds positive. He told CNN, “It does move closer to the goals that we established for our pilot group.”
The pilots had been looking for compensation more in line with that of other low-cost carriers, such as JetBlue and AirTran, both of which pay its pilots considerably more than Spirit currently does. Talks resumed Tuesday, and the agreement was reached Wednesday afternoon following marathon negotiations. The deal also means flight crew, who were furloughed earlier this week, won’t be without a paycheck for long.
But while this is good news, and points to a likely end to the cancelations, the strike won’t officially end until the pilots sign a back-to-work order. Creed sounds optimistic about that as well, telling the Associated Press, “I think our people will be more than willing to assist the company in getting itself back together and fully operational as soon as we possibly can.”
If the pilots do sign the order, it will end a strike that stretched on for six days (including today) and frustrated some 90,000 stranded passengers. Hoping to mend fences with customers, Spirit said it will offer a $50 flight coupon and 5,000 bonus miles for bookings from June 18 through November 17.