The pilots who deliver your Amazon Prime packages are paid considerably less than their peers at other air-cargo carriers.
Business Insider interviewed 13 current and former pilots who have worked for third-party airfreight companies that fly Amazon Air-branded planes. The pilots worked for subsidiaries of Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings. All are based in the US and fly both domestically and internationally.
These airline companies provide Amazon with leasing, staffing, maintenance, and insurance. The pilot groups who work with Amazon are ABX Air, Air Transport International (ATI), and Atlas Air. ABX and ATI are owned by ATSG, and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings owns Atlas Air.
These pilots are all unionized. ABX and Atlas pilots are in Teamsters Local Union 1224, while ATI pilots are in Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA).
Amazon did not respond to repeated requests for comment from Business Insider.
In a statement regarding other issues at ATSG, a spokesperson told Business Insider about pay and union negotiations, “Contract negotiations continue to be conducted under the auspices of the National Mediation Board, and we look forward to their satisfactory conclusion.”
Bill Flynn, Atlas Air Worldwide CEO, told Business Insider in a statement five days after this story was published:
Any alleged delay in getting to the next pilot contract has been a direct result of the union’s refusal to adhere to its contractual commitments, which provide for an orderly and timely resolution of unresolved contractual issues. Had union leadership followed the CBA, the pilots would have had a new contract by now.
Even a first-year captain at FedEx earns more than a captain who flies for Amazon Air and has been with the company for decades
Boeing 767 captains with the maximum years of company tenure at ATSG and Atlas earn up to $246 an hour, according to their labor contracts and information posted on the salary-report website Airline Pilot Central.
But serving as a captain on the same plane with the maximum years of company tenure is much more lucrative at other cargo airlines.
Pilots with the maximum years of experience earn $313 an hour at FedEx and $309 at UPS. (Maximum experience at UPS and FedEx is 15 years, while it’s capped at 12 years at Atlas, ABX, and ATI.)
Even smaller cargo airlines, such as Kalitta Air, pay better than ATSG and Atlas. Kalitta 767 captains earn $273 an hour. No other airlines flying 767s had salary information publicly available.