ABX Air pilots, ATSG reach compensatory time off agreement

Pilots for Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) subsidiary ABX Air have reached a settlement with the carrier that returns the pilots’ right to take compensatory time off for days in which they are forced to work to cover flights due to staffing shortages. The resolution ends a simmering labor disagreement that prompted a pilot’s walk-out in late 2016 that grounded more than 75 flights, disrupting shipments for several customers, including DHL and Amazon.ABX 767-200SF on approach-samll

ATSG’s adjusted 2016 EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) underperformed expectations by US$7 million, due to “revenue loss resulting from a brief work stoppage in mid-November 2016 by pilots of its subsidiary ABX Air,” according to the carrier.

The settlement, which occurred last Wednesday, was finalized between the pilots’ union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division and the Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224, and ABX Air. Union representatives said the agreement “restores the status quo in their current, concessionary contract by guaranteeing that pilots can use their earned days off and putting an end to the ongoing litigation related to the strike, including a court injunction blocking it. The agreement eliminates a large backlog of accrued, earned days off.” The settlement also restores the pilots’ right to use any new days they earn, starting in March. A labor arbitrator will decide whether ABX can put any new restrictions on that right.

ATSG’s relationship with Amazon is likely to expand in the years ahead, despite the decision by the Seattle-based e-commerce giant to build and operate its own hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG) and abandoning its current hub in Wilmington (ILN), where ATSG also manages the sortation facility for Amazon.

However, ATSG indicated that the move freed up space for up to 100 aircraft at CVG. ATSG hopes to “continue to deploy assets with them as they grow that fleet potentially to 100, or more than 100” aircraft.

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