Air Canada pilots will begin bargaining for a new contract this summer after their union moved to end their decade-long collective agreement a year early.

The Air Canada pilot group represented by the Air Canada Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said it invoked a clause to end their 10-year agreement with the company after nine years. That move will result in “the pilot group entering the bargaining process this summer,” the union said, after it submits notice to the employer.

The current agreement is in force until Sept. 29 and will be in place until a new agreement is reached, ALPA said in a statement to

“The Air Canada pilots are looking forward to working with the company towards a contract that addresses career progression and job security issues for its pilots, and closes the growing wage gap between the U.S. and Canada,” the union said in an email.

Air Canada said it had not received bargaining notice as of Tuesday.

“The current agreement, which has been in place for nearly a decade, is a testimony of the productive relationship we have with our pilots. We expect the upcoming negotiations to be conducted in this same spirit,” the company said in an emailed statement.

The development comes after a tense period of negotiations between WestJet and its pilots that resulted in grounded flights and travel disruptions as the company braced for a possible work stoppage. Bargaining at that airline culminated in an 11th-hour agreement that would see pilots receive a 24 per cent pay bump over four years. 

Wages, particularly in comparison to higher-paid U.S. pilots’ salaries, were also a sticking point in the WestJet negotiations.