ATLANTA Northwest Airlines Corp. pilots stand to get a nearly 2.4 percent equity stake in Delta Air Lines Inc. after the combination of the two companies is completed, according to a summary of a joint contract agreement reached between pilot negotiators from both carriers.
The agreement, together with a previous one reached between Delta pilots and management, also calls for compounded raises for pilots of over 18 percent over four years, the summary provided to Delta pilots on Monday says.
Rank-and file Delta and Northwest pilots must approve the joint collective bargaining agreement for it to become final.
Separately, Delta and Northwest pilots have agreed to submit to binding arbitration to help them craft an integrated seniority list if the two sides cannot reach a seniority deal on their own within a certain timeframe.
Pilots value their seniority because it determines their schedule, the aircraft they fly, and layoff protection.
Atlanta-based Delta is hoping to complete its stock-swap deal to acquire Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest by the end of the year. The combination, being proposed at a time of soaring fuel prices and airline industry financial woes, would create the world's largest carrier. Regulators and shareholders must sign off.
The joint contract agreement calls for pre-merger Northwest pilots to receive a 2.38 percent equity stake in the new Delta. Current Delta pilots would receive a 3.5 percent equity stake. The summary sent by Delta union officials to Delta pilots says the two amounts are proportional given the size of the two pilot groups. There are about 5,000 Northwest pilots and about 7,000 Delta pilots.
"We believe that given the financial and industry environment in which we find ourselves, this agreement provides significant gains for the Delta pilots," the Delta pilot union officials said. "Additionally, it positions Delta to make significant competitive strides in the coming years, especially in international markets, which would be reflected in profit sharing payouts and, most important, in the prospect for a long-term financially stable corporation which is in the best interests of all Delta pilots."
Delta shares fell 37 cents, or 6.5 percent, to $5.33 in afternoon trading on Tuesday, while Northwest shares fell 36 cents, or 5.4 percent, to $6.30.