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United Pilots Vote in Favor of Contract, Easing Merger

Pilots at United Continental Holdings Inc. voted in favor of a joint contract that will allow them to mesh ranks more than two years after their carriers merged to create the world’s largest airline.

Sixty-seven percent of those participating in the vote approved of the agreement, the United and Continental chapters of the Air Line Pilots Association said in a statement. About 98 percent of the 10,193 eligible pilots voted, the company and the union said.

The pact is in effect through December 2016.

Union leaders last month agreed to a tentative contract with management that includes pay raises and lump-sum payments in exchange for productivity gains such as allowing the airline to have regional partners fly more 76-seat jets.

The Chicago-based company recorded an expense of $454 million in the third quarter for lump-sum payouts pilots will receive once the accord is ratified and when they integrate seniority lists, which determine the size of planes they fly and schedule preferences. The airline has 12,000 pilots.

United Airlines parent UAL Corp. merged with Continental Airlines Inc. in 2010 in an all-stock deal, surpassing Delta Air Lines Inc. as the world’s biggest carrier.

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