Atlas pilots protest airline’s relationship with Amazon Air

Robert Kirchner is pictured second from the left

Yesterday, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings’ (AAWH) pilots – who fly for Amazon Air under a contract between the two companies – demonstrated outside of Amazon headquarters’ in Seattle, just outside of Air Cargo World’s offices.

Teamsters Local 1224, which represents the airline’s pilots, maintains that the carrier does not have a sufficient body of pilots to accommodate its relationship with Amazon Air – an issue the group has been speaking on since Atlas’ relationship with the e-tail giant began, leasing twenty 767s from Atlas in 2016.

The group maintains that the airline needs to increase wages to match pilots’ wages at carriers like UPS and FedEx, where pilots can expect to make 30-40 percent more per year. According to Robert Kirchner, chairman of Teamsters Local 1224,

Pilots protest beneath the Amazon Spheres.

Atlas is losing pilots to these competitors, and stated that Atlas hired 348 pilots, but lost 181 since the beginning of 2018 due to “poor working conditions.”

Atlas recently reached an agreement on pay increases with the union representing pilots at its subsidiary carrier, Southern Air.

Atlas is moving forward to expand its relationship with Amazon. At present, Atlas has delivered 15 converted Boeing 767s. The last five will be delivered before 2019, president and CEO of Atlas Air William Flynn said at a June 25 investor day.

On Friday Aug. 24, Atlas responded to the situation, telling Air Cargo World: “Earlier this month, we announced the ratification of an interim agreement with the Southern Air pilots and Local 1224 that increases pay rates and work rules for Southern Air pilots to the same levels as provided to pilots of Atlas Air. In that regard, we look forward to continuing our negotiation discussions with the union leadership as we proceed toward the completion of a joint collective bargaining agreement covering all of our pilots,” but did not say whether or not they plan to concede to the union’s requests.


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