Fight instructors at Southwest Airlines Co. and AirTran Airways Inc. have approved an agreement on how they would combine their seniority lists, Southwest said Wednesday.

“I want to commend all the parties involved for accomplishing something that is very rare in the airline industry–a successfully negotiated integration agreement outside of arbitration,” said Chuck Magill, Southwest’s vice president of flight operations.

Southwest acquired AirTran in May 2011, and plans to combine the two carriers over several years. Southwest’s flight instructors are represented by the Transport Workers Union, while AirTran’s instructors did not have union representation.

Said Southwest:

“The AirTran Instructors will continue to work for AirTran until January 2015, but may be moved over to Southwest based on operational needs. TWU 557 represents approximately 70 Southwest Airlines Flight Instructors. AirTran has 17 Instructors.”

Pilots at AirTran, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, and at Southwest, represented by the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association, previously had approved a seniority agreement. Similar deals covering other employee groups are up for votes.

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