A group of pilots contracted to deliver packages for Amazon’s Prime Air service launched a new website questioning whether the airlines Amazon is working with will be able to live up to the online retailer giant’s promises this holiday season.
The site, called Can Amazon Deliver, is paid for by Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224. The pilots are from Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings subsidiary Atlas Air as well as Air Transport Services Group subsidiary ABX Air. Some of these pilots recently demonstrated outside Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, urging the online retail giant to use its influence with the airlines it contracts with to fix issues of short-staffing and what the pilots say are sub-standard working conditions. Others walked out on the job in November over staffing shortages.
From the website:
Amazon just launched its own airline shipping service, Prime Air, but without the staff or expertise to run its own airline, the company is relying on third-party contracted cargo airlines for deliveries.
These contracted Prime Air airlines are facing significant operational disruptions. The airlines don’t have enough pilots to meet the demands of Amazon because their experienced pilots are leaving for better jobs at other airlines.
By working with airlines that keep losing pilots and have disruptions in service, Amazon is making a big bet that it can deliver its packages on time. At this rate, there may not be enough pilots to deliver for Amazon around the holidays.
The pilots say executives from the airlines agreed to take on the Amazon business despite well-known staffing issues related to short staffing, and those problems are only getting worse. The pilots say they are paid less, work longer hours and have less rest between flights than pilots who fly for other carriers like UPS or FedEx. That is driving down morale and causing many pilots from Prime Air-contracted airlines to look for other jobs.
The website is the latest move by the pilots to get people to notice their issues with the airlines. About 250 pilots from ABX Air walked off the job in November, causing about 75 flights to be grounded, the pilot group said.
Atlas Air Worldwide as well as Ohio-based Air Transport Services Group have been flying packages for Amazon for months. Amazon in August debuted a Boeing 767-300 painted with the company’s Prime Air branding, the first jet to be leased from and operated by Atlas Air.
By the end of 2018, each of the companies expects to be operating 20 leased 767 jets for Amazon deliveries. Amazon also holds options to buy stakes in both ATSG and Atlas Air.