Amazon Air Struggles to Keep The Pilots Who Ship Your Packages

Amazon Air Struggles to Retain The Pilots Who Ship Your Packages

Amazon’s one-day shipping has led the eCommerce retail giant to rely on its own air cargo division, Amazon Air. However, as the number of shipments are being distributed through various cargoes. The pilots who fly these packages continue to express that they are being overworked and underpaid.

These pilots do not work for Amazon directly. Although, they are contracted through Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) and Atlas Air. More than 200 contractors cast a vote of “no confidence” against the management’s ability to address the labor disputes. All but one member of the pilot’s union voted “yes” when asked if they have no confidence in the management’s willingness to negotiate or reach an agreement that benefits all the stakeholders, including the shareholders, customers and employees.

The cargo pilots who flew for Atlas Air recently lost a three-year bid to secure a new work contract. In February 2019, an Atlas pilot crashed Amazon Air flight, which killed three occupants. Which a few reports suggested a link that the pilot might have been overworked.

Pilots from both airlines have complained about being underpaid, low morale, and high turnover. Trouble are also brewing that led to a pilot shortage. Many well-trained pilots who used to work for Atlas and ABX left for better opportunities. According to an union survey found that 60% of the pilots who work for these airlines are looking to work somewhere else.

A recent data from Flightpath Economics, which is a consulting firm, revealed that ABX Air and Atlas Air are the lowest paid in the industry:

  • ASTG: Pilot earns $152 / hour.
  • Atlas: Pilot earns $139 / hour.
  • Fedex: Pilot earns $243 / hour.
  • UPS: Pilot earns $288 / hour

As the cargo pilots face tougher working conditions than their counterparts. They were left out of the 2014 law which required that the passenger pilots to get 10 hours of rest between flights. Experts also stated that relaxed safety regulations and pilot fatigue is one of the leading cause for fatal crashes. Which is by far much more likely for cargo flights compared to passenger flights.

While the shipments delivered by Amazon Air is only going to continue rising. FedEx announced that they will no longer help Amazon with their air delivery in June. But at the same month, Amazon declared that they will roll out free one-day shipping on millions of products.

These combined factors have placed the eCommerce retail giant under great deal of pressure to rely on its own delivery services than every before. As holiday season is coming right around the corner. Amazon is expected to invest $1.5 billion into expanding its delivery services to meet one-day shipping promise.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos stated that the company will depend less on air services as it focuses on building new local warehouses. However, for now the eCommerce giant continues to expand its air cargo operations. Recently they added 15 more airplanes to its delivery fleet. They are expected to have 70 planes by end of 2021.

The $1.5 billion investment which will be used to expand its Amazon Air Hub located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Basically, it is an Amazon cargo airport that is expected to be complete in 2021. When the expansion is done, it will be able to handle up to 200 daily takeoffs and landing. Moreover, the company opened a new Air Hub in Fort Worth, Texas.

Recent expansions of Air Hub also indicates that Amazon is looking to overtake other delivery firms. Eventually, they will replace the third-party cargo services with their own Amazon Air pilots.

As long as the demand for lighting fast shipping is high. The future of eCommerce retail giant will continue to rely heavily on air freight to meet its one-day shipping promise. An integral core to keeping the customers happy. Share your thoughts with us by commenting below in the comments section. We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Keith Ericksen
He is the founder of and has been blogging for a few years specializing in marketing, technology, and science. During his downtime, he enjoys flying his Mavic Pro to capture aerial photography whatever piques his interests.