- Atlas Air — whose subsidiaries deliver cargo for UPS, DHL, FedEx and Amazon — is seeking a preliminary injunction against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to halt an alleged intentional work slowdown by their pilots, causing flight delays, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- Atlas Air senior vice president of flight operations Jeffrey Carlson accused the pilots of taking excess sick leave, which he believes indicates a “continuation” of the same campaign initiated by the Teamsters in December 2016, intended to disrupt peak flying season, The Loadstar reported Tuesday.
- Earlier this year, pilots claimed operational risks at Atlas were growing due to an ongoing pilot shortage, undermining Atlas’s performance. One pilot called the Atlas situation a ticking time bomb.
Understaffed cargo planes are rife within the freight delivery industry, and pilots are growing weary.
Air Transport Services Group's ABX Air underwent serious upheaval in 2016, when 250 pilots voted to strike just prior to peak season. Ultimately the pilots were ordered back to work under the Railway Labor Act, which requires rail and airline workers to submit to arbitration. Ultimately, a settlement agreement was reached allowing pilots compensatory days off after covering flights due to staffing shortages.
The well-known pilot shortage is especially keen at Atlas Air, where the lack of an industry standard contract is not only keeping new staff from joining the airline, but also causing numerous departures among those already on staff. Beginning in January 2017, attrition rates at Atlas Air rapidly increased, 30 pilots quitting for better jobs at other airlines, and a further half dozen simply disappearing before beginning their hiring class.
Atlas Air may deem it wise to follow the lead of ABX in seeking a workaround with their pilots. Following the lead of other understaffed industries, such as trucking and manufacturing, in sweetening the terms of employment for much needed personnel, would also potentially help the struggling airline gain new talent.