Southwest Airlines Unveils New Look with Heart. Photo: Stephen M. Keller.

MIAMI — Dallas-based Southwest Airlines announced on Monday that its Pilots have ratified a new four-year contract that includes higher pay and bonuses.

According to the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA), 84.26 percent of Pilots who cast ballots voted in favor of the deal.

New contractual terms, including a new wage scale and bonus provisions, includes an immediate 15% pay raise due on October 1, 2016 and 3% annual raises on September 1, 2017-2020. Additionally, the issue around the 737 MAX was resolved. Moving forward any aircraft with more than 175 seats or that requires a different type rating will drive a re-opening of negotiations until the new contract covers the additional variants.

“This contract recognizes and rewards our Pilots for their professionalism and leadership,” said Alan Kasher, Vice President Flight Operations.

“Beyond the compensation and work rule improvements, this forward-looking agreement delivers the operational flexibility needed to grow our network and ensures that Southwest will remain well-positioned for long-term success in our intensely-competitive industry,” Kasher said in a press release.

The new agreement ends a contentious four-year period during which the pilots saw no change in their contractual status. Contract negotiations began in 2012, but these stalled and required the U.S. National Mediation Board (NMB) to step in for arbitration in 2014. In November 2015, pilots rejected a proposed contract.