MIAMI — Alaska Airlines reached a tentative merger agreement with Virgin America and the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) for competitive pay raises, increase in retirement contributions and quality of life benefits.

The agreement, that involves 5,400 flight attendants, preserves all productivity of Alaska Airlines’ existing contract and is a new step to integrate the crew members of both carriers.

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“We’re thrilled to have reached this major milestone towards integrating our flight attendant workgroups,” said Jeff Butler, Alaska Airlines’ Vice President of Guest and In-flight Services.

“We have one of the best flight attendant work groups in the industry. This agreement reflects our shared commitment to bring Virgin America and Alaska Airlines together as one and supports our long-term low cost, low fares business philosophy,” he concluded.

The flight attendants of Virgin America already joined AFA in April 2017, shortly after the merger between both carriers. However, to complete a full agreement, the next step will include combining seniority lists, cross training on Boeing and Airbus, as well as the integration of crew scheduling systems. The carrier expects to complete this by 2019.

Additionally, Alaska Airlines’ flight attendants will conduct a ratification vote, to be completed in April.

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The existing five-year contract, which was approved by members in 2014, becomes amendable in December 2019. Alaska Airlines and AFA will begin negotiations for its first joint labor agreement later this year.

Alaska Airlines, together with Virgin America, operates flights to 115 destinations with 1,200 daily flights across the United States, and to Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica.