About 250 pilots who fly for Wilmington-based cargo carrier ABX Air, which operates flights for Amazon and DHL, went on strike in October and November 2016. A federal judge at the time ordered the strike ended, telling the two sides to go to arbitration. CHUCK HAMLIN / STAFF

Survey: 60 percent of ABX Air pilots want to fly for someone else

A union has released a survey saying that more than half of surveyed pilots flying for two air freight carriers, including Wilmington-based Air Transport Services Group, are looking for work elsewhere.

A Teamsters local released the survey findings in Thanksgiving week, just as the Christmas shopping season begins in earnest.

“More than 60 percent of pilots at carriers owned by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW) and Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) who participated in a survey revealed they are preparing to leave their carrier and are seeking work at competitors like UPS and FedEx,” a release on the survey said.

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Both AAWW and ATSG are responsible for a growing amount of Amazon Air and DHL deliveries, the union notes.

The union said survey results were collected from more than 1,200 pilots at AAWW’s subsidiaries Atlas Air and Southern Air, and from pilots at ATSG’s subsidiary ABX Air. ATSG and ABX Air are both headquartered at Wilmington Air Park in Clinton County, about 40 minutes southeast of Dayton.

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Atlas Air is currently contracted to fly 20 planes for Amazon Air, while ABX Air flies six planes for Amazon Air, the Teamsters said. Both carriers also fly for DHL, which Southern Air flies for exclusively.

According to the survey, more than 75 percent of pilots who responded strongly disagree that morale at their carrier is high and 80 percent said they would not recommend their carrier to a friend working in the industry.

An ATSG representative responded to the union’s claims.

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“ATSG’s airlines are currently at their target staffing levels, employing flight crews for all of the aircraft for which they are committed under commercial arrangements with their respective customers,” the ATSG spokesman said in an email.

“We appreciate the professionalism and dedication of all of our employees in providing the best possible service to our customers, and we make every effort, every day, to make that service even better.”

Two Novembers ago, a federal court in Cincinnati ordered striking ATSG pilots back to their cargo planes, in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday goods shipments.

The recent survey was conducted online in October and November 2018 by the pilots’ union, Teamsters Local 1224, the release said.

According to the union, of those who responded to the survey:

• More than 80 percent strongly disagree when asked if they are satisfied with pay and benefits at their carriers, while 91 percent of pilots strongly disagree that their pay and benefits meet the industry standards for their peers doing the same job.

• More than 65 percent of pilots have been asked to fly on their off-days in the last year.

• Nearly 65 percent of pilots at ABX Air say their quality of life since joining the carrier has declined significantly.

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