While state and local leaders gave off an air of achievement, pilots like 42-year veteran Robert Kirchner struck an air of alarm.
They are with Atlas Air and expressed to us how safety is being compromised, how attrition is thinning the ranks of experienced pilots.
“Large uptick in fatigue costs, sick calls,” he stated. “Pilots are just being worn out. And that doesn’t bode well for the future of this enterprise that Amazon is breaking ground on today.”
Through Prime Air, the Amazon plans are soaring.
Executives want to get the hub in place, meet the growing demand for fast delivery and be a major economic engine for the region.
The crowd witnessed and cheered no ordinary groundbreaking.
Bezos mounted a front end loader, spurning a ceremonial shovel and gave larger meaning to the term “breaking ground.”
It was a closed ceremony. Pilots said that spoke volumes.
They said the powers that be were trying to suppress as much of the pilot’s point of view as possible, controlling the message.
“A lot of canceled flights, a lot of delayed flights,” said Kirchner.
“And a lot of them are due to the pilot shortage and the staffing stressed operation. Atlas right now is a stressed carrier.”