A "scope" clause in their contract gives pilots at Continental Airlines a virtual veto over revenue-sharing deals with other U.S. carriers. The issue is delaying full implementation of a trans-Atlantic joint venture with United Airlines and other Star Alliance members, and analysts say a trans-Pacific partnership is also at stake. "We are well aware of the leverage this gives us," says the head of the Continental pilots union, which has been in contract talks since 2007. A Continental spokeswoman says the issue took no one by surprise. "The companies and the DOT recognized that there were a lot of issues to be resolved in setting up a joint venture, and that's why the DOT order gives 18 months for the joint venture to be implemented," she says.
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