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Pilots for bankrupt carrier

Delta Air Lines


rallied in Atlanta Tuesday to defend their contract a day before a bankruptcy court hearing in New York.

According to the

Associated Press

, more than 800 pilots for the nation's third-largest airline rallied at a suburban Atlanta convention center. Delta is seeking to void the contract so it can impose $325 million more in concessions on its roughly 6,000 pilots, who are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association.

Union leaders maintained their strike threat is serious. In court documents filed Monday, Delta said if the pilots did strike, the move would be "murder-suicide" and essentially shut the airline down.

The hearing in bankruptcy court is scheduled for Wednesday. Delta sought Chapter 11 protection in September amid a heavy debt load, competition from discount airlines and the soaring cost of jet fuel.

Separately, Delta said its flight superintendents had agreed to take a 9% to 10% wage reduction, according to


. The agreement by Delta's 171 members of the Professional Airline Flight Control Association takes effect Dec. 1, the airline said in a statement. Messages to union leaders weren't returned.


Northwest Airlines


, which filed for bankruptcy the same day as Delta, has reached a temporary pact with its pilots. Negotiations are continuing about permanent concessions.



reported that the agreement will cut hourly pay rates by 23.9%, saving the airline $215 million a year. This is in addition to a 15% wage reduction that took effect last year.