Pretoria - Trade union Solidarity was locked in negotiations on Thursday with Mango airline in a bid to settle a wage dispute and avert strike action.
"The meeting started at 10am and could run for the better part of the day. You know that we are at a critical point and we all need a solution at this stage," said Solidarity spokesperson Ilze Nieuwoudt.
"We are willing to negotiate for as long as it takes. We are not going to walk away from negotiations even if it means going into the night."
She said the trade union anticipated the signing of "a workable deal" for its members.
Solidarity claims to represent 52 of the airline's 57 pilots.
Nieuwoudt said pilots at Mango earned 40% less than their counterparts at Comair and 60% less than pilots at SA Airways (SAA), even though Mango was owned by SAA.
Solidarity's aim in this year's wage negotiations was to begin the process of bringing Mango pilots' remuneration in line with that in the rest of the industry.
She said Mango CEO Nico Bezuidenhout earned 202% more in 2011 than in 2009 after a 32.4% raise in 2010, and an increase of 2.8% in 2011.
He received a bonus of about R1.5m last year, and one of about R2m this year.
A spokesperson for the low-cost airline, Hein Kaiser, confirmed that the pay talks were under way.
"We cannot say much at this stage. We are presently negotiating to find a solution," he said.