Southwest Airlines pilots file suit against Southwest for pursuit of non-contractual aircraft

SWAPA, the union representing the pilots of Southwest Airlines, has filed papers in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas to obtain status quo protection due to unlawful tactics of Southwest Airlines, the company said.

The carrier is ramping up negotiations pressure by threatening to force its pilots to fly aircraft not listed in the collective bargaining agreement.

Southwest Airlines is the launch customer of Boeing´s new 737-800 MAX aircraft with scheduled deliveries beginning the first half of 2017. The pilots assert that Southwest may not operate or threaten to operate the MAX without a contract provision for this aircraft. SWAPA asserts that Southwest Airlines is violating federal law by threatening to proceed unilaterally if an agreement is not reached before the MAX is delivered for use by the carrier.

Southwest has a firm order for 200 MAX aircraft between 2017-2027 with options on an additional 191 over that same time frame.

The pilots have been negotiating with Southwest on a new contract since 2012. Currently in federal mediation, hundreds of pilots will descend upon Chicago on May 18 to engage in informational picketing both on Michigan Avenue and near Chicago Midway airport.

Located in Dallas, Texas, the Southwest Airlines Pilots´ Association (SWAPA) is a non-profit employee organization representing the more than 8,300 pilots of Southwest Airlines.