WASHINGTON (AP) – Spirit Airlines said it will work with other air carriers to keep flying if its pilots strike on Saturday.

Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson said on Tuesday that the airline is “partnering with other air carrier providers to continue to serve our customers.” She declined to identify whom Spirit planned to work with, or to say how much of its schedule it will maintain in a strike.

Spirit is negotiating a new contract with its pilots, who are in a 30-day “cooling-off period” mandated by federal law before they can strike or the company locks them out. If there’s no deal, the pilots have said they will walk out when the cooling-off period ends at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. The talks are being held in Washington and are guided by the National Mediation Board.

Spirit is a small, privately held carrier based in Miramar, Fla. It operates about 150 flights per day, many of them from the eastern U.S. to Latin America.

Sean Creed, a Spirit captain and the head of its Air Line Pilots Association unit, doubted that the airline had arrangements that would keep it flying through a strike.

“Obviously they’re free to replace us according to the law,” he said. “I think if they were going to have a plan to continue operation, it would need to have some specific details.”

Creed and the airline both said the final issues are pay and work rules.

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(Washington (AP) USAToday)

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