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717Doc 09-30-2005 07:02 PM

AirTran Mechanics OK 4-Year Contract
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - AirTran Holdings Inc., parent of AirTran Airways, on Friday said its unionized aircraft mechanics and inspectors ratified a new, four-year contract.

Teamsters Local 528 represents 450 AirTran workers, including 300 mechanics and inspectors. About 70 percent of the union members voted for the agreement
The contract raises workers' wages 10 percent over the life of the agreement, said Stephen Kolski, senior vice president of operations, who negotiated the contract. Hourly rates for the most senior employees increase to $32 from $29 over four years.

Kolski said the deal also gives AirTran the flexibility to pull mechanics into inspector rolls on an as-needed basis. The agreement doesn't call for job cuts.

The pact becomes effective Oct. 1.

In a company statement, Local 528 president Don Toney said the contract provides improved wages and benefits but "also will enable AirTran Airways to remain a very efficient and low-cost competitor."

AirTran and the union arrived at the agreement over Labor Day weekend, after 14 bargaining sessions in August.

The company's shares closed up 55 cents, or 4.5 percent, at $12.66 on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares have traded in a 12-month range of $7.40 to $13.15.

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