DALLAS Members of the Allied Pilots Association voted overwhelmingly Friday to approve ratifying a new contract with American Airlines, an agreement that was widely viewed as the last hurdle in the Fort Worth-based company s bankruptcy proceedings.

The Allied Pilots Association says 73.78 percent of its members voted in favor of ratifying the contract AMR, American s parent company, offered the union s board in November.

The new contract lasts six years and gives the pilots a 13.5 percent equity stake in the company once it emerges from bankruptcy. In three years, the pilots will be up to the so-called industry standard, with benefits and wages that stack up well against what their competitors make.

The agreement means American has now reached deals with all of its labor unions and established across-the-board cuts that amount to 17 percent. Minutes after the deal was announced, the Allied Pilots Association took to Twitter to say it still supports a merger with US Airways.

Union leaders hoped to get at least 60 percent of its members in favor of the deal. It came away with almost 80 percent 5,489 voting in favor and 1,951 voting against.

Denise Lynn, a senior vice president of American Airlines, released the prepared statement posted below:

We are pleased our pilots supported and ratified this agreement, which is an important step forward in our restructuring. Once we ve received Court approval of this agreement, we will have new collective bargaining agreements with all of our unionized groups.

This agreement addresses the priorities identified by the APA during collaborative talks. Today s ratification gives us the certainty we need for American to successfully restructure, providing opportunity and growth for all of our people and stakeholders. The modernization of our company is well underway, and we remain focused on emerging as a competitive, world-class airline.

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