Southwest, pilots’ union nearing preliminary labor deal – source

(Reuters) -Southwest Airlines and its pilots’ union were nearing a new labor deal ahead of the holiday season, a person familiar with the negotiations said on Friday.

Shares of the carrier were up 3.4% in afternoon trade.

The agreement could take a couple of weeks to sort out some of the outstanding issues, the person said without providing any details on the terms of the deal.

Southwest in an emailed statement to Reuters said, “Both negotiating teams are working hard to close out the few remaining items.” The company remains committed to reaching a deal that rewards its pilots and places them competitively in the industry, it added.

North American pilots and flight attendants have been pushing for better pay and working conditions during their talks over new job contracts with the company management.

The carrier in October had reached a tentative agreement with the Transport Workers Union Local 556, representing nearly 19,000 flight attendants.

Earlier this year, major carriers American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines successfully reached agreements with their respective pilot unions.

CNBC first reported that Southwest was nearing a new contract with the union.

(Reporting by Pratyush Thakur in Bengaluru and Rajesh Kumar Singh in Chicago; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Arun Koyyur)