EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - Holding signs declaring that "the clock is ticking," Spirit Airlines pilots held an informational picket Tuesday at Atlantic City International Airport signaling a strike is possible if a contract is not worked out before Saturday.

Meanwhile, a Spirit spokeswoman told the Associated Press that the airline is "partnering with other air carrier providers to continue to serve our customers." She declined to say which airlines or how much of its schedule would be retained.

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Contract talks continued this week after management and the pilots' union, the Air Line Pilots Association, failed to reach an agreement in May after three years of negotiations. The deadline for a resolution is Friday.

If no contact agreement is reached, pilots will walk off the job starting at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, said David Morlando, a Spirit captain from Galloway Township representing pilots at Tuesday's informational picket. Spirit, based in Miramar, Fla., is the major air carrier at Atlantic City International. Other pickets are being planned at hubs this week in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Detroit and New York.

In a statement, Spirit said that "many issues have been resolved," but that pay rate and productivity are still on the table.

Morlando said the 500 Spirit pilots are asking for comparable salaries to other low-cost airlines and protection of work rules that preserve safety.

"We're surprised that it has come to this," said Morlando, as 30 pilots, including from other airlines, marched in front of the airport's parking garage. "But we don't want to capitulate."


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