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JetBlue (JBLU) Inches Closer to Clinch a Fair Pilot Contract

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JetBlue Airways Corporation (JBLU - Free Report) has reached an agreement in principle (AIP) with its pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). The agreement is in the process of being reviewed by the JetBlue ALPA Master Executive Council (MEC), which includes the final documentation, review and consideration for the pilots’ final ratification. Terms of the agreement were kept under wraps.

On MEC’s approval of the AIP, the tentative agreement will be sent to the pilots for a final ratification vote. Following this, the agreement will be a first of its kind to have been concluded between a labor group and JetBlue management.

It is to be noted that JetBlue pilots joined ALPA in 2014 and negotiations for a fair contract began on Mar 31, 2015. Even after years of bargaining, the pilots had so far failed to secure a fair deal. In fact, following the delay, the pilots filed for mediation with the National Mediation Board on Jul 17, 2017 in order to speed up the negotiation process.

The pilots claim that despite the airline generating record profits, they lag in terms of employee remuneration, benefits and work environment. The pilots are looking for compensation, on par with the industry standards.

With labor deals very much in vogue in the airline space, we expect investor focus to remain on further updates regarding this burning issue at JetBlue.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

JetBlue carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the airline space are SkyWest, Inc. SKYW, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. CPCAY and Swire Pacific Ltd. SWRAY. While SkyWest sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Cathay Pacific Airways and Swire Pacific carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Shares of SkyWest, Cathay Pacific Airways and Swire Pacific have gained more than 58%, 23% and 3%, respectively, in a year.

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