As Amazon investors convene for the e-commerce giant’s annual stockholder meeting, pilots responsible for many of the company’s overnight package deliveries are sounding the alarm about potential safety issues.
The pilots, represented by the Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224, say the cargo airlines Atlas Air, Southern Air, and Air Transport Service Group — the three of which provide many of Amazon Air’s daily operations — have dragged their feet on negotiating a new contract. As a result, the pilots say, staffing is being stretched thin and talented recruits are opting to fly for competitors instead.
“Now, after several years of losing pilots to airlines like FedEx, UPS, and Delta, we find ourselves basically with a staffing crisis,” Michael Russo, a 15-year veteran of Atlas Air, told Business Insider in an interview.
“The operation is being stretched thin due to this mind-boggling expansion that I don’t think we can keep up with, but the company executives seem to just mislead Amazon by saying ‘yeah, we can keep all of these airplanes flying. I don’t know how we’re going to do it.”