Air Canada pilots look to start bargaining early after big WestJet pay hike

AirCan pilots eye raise

The pilots union at the country's biggest airline is opening the gate to bargaining ahead of time — as early as this summer.

Air Canada says its pilots group has triggered an option to launch negotiations around a new collective agreement a year early.

The move comes after pilots at WestJet and budget subsidiary Swoop settled on a tentative deal this month that secures a 24 per cent wage increase over four years.

Since landing on an agreement in 2014, Air Canada pilots have received a two per cent pay hike each year.

The airline says the current deal will remain in force until Sept. 29, but that its provisions will still apply after that date.

The Air Canada Pilots Association, whose 4,500-odd members joined the Air Line Pilots Association two weeks ago, has previously said it may look to kick off negotiations in June.

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