By Jack Fink

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – American Airlines’ eight thousand pilots will have to wait to see the details of the deal in principle the Allied Pilots Association worked out with the airline.

But unlike this past summer, when union members overwhelmingly rejected American’s last, best contract offer, this time industry analysts expect it to be different.

Retired Braniff captain Denny Kelly belives American’s pilots’ will approve a new contract deal.

Kelly says, “I think they realize this is the best they’re going to get.  It’s a lot better than what they were initially offered, and a lot better, well, not a lot better, but better than what they were offered in the interim.”

While both the union and airline aren’t discussing specifics yet, the union has previously said any deal would have to include:

  • pay that’s comparable to Delta Airline’s pilots,
  • more limits on flights American codeshares with other airlines,
  • and on the size of regional jets the airline flies.

Experts believe the pilots would also receive a more than 13% equity stake in the new American.

The union board will meet this Friday to decide whether to send pilots the proposal to vote on.

If pilots approve, Dallas bankruptcy attorney Linda LaRue says it will be a major development for American.  “This is the last big piece before they present a plan and move forward and get out of bankruptcy.” Jack: Could they get out of bakruptcy without a deal? LaRue: “It’d be like trying to drive a car without tires.”

LaRue says American learned the hard way what can happen when pilots are unhappy.

This past September, the airline’s on-time performance plummeted when pilots increased maintenance requests and called out sick, causing hundreds of flight cancellations and delays.

The airline’s on-time performance has now improved.

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