The union representing ATA Airlines' pilots said it reached a temporary agreement designed to save the airline's parent,

ATA Holdings


, up to $6 million as ATA seeks to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

The ATA Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said Thursday that it reached a tentative agreement with management that includes pay cuts and a 50% reduction in company contributions to retirement plans. The agreement, which still must be ratified by ALPA members, would last for 120 days. During that period, the union and the airline would be able to negotiate more permanent contract changes. Pilots have until Jan. 9 to vote on the agreement.

Spokespeople for the airline did not return phone calls.

ATA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October. It recently sold its rights to six gates and a hangar at Chicago's Midway airport to

Southwest Airlines

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in exchange for $117 million in cash and financing. The two airlines have also reached a code-sharing agreement, under which they will share passengers.

ATA shares were up 4 cents, or 2.9%, at $1.40.