For the second time in four months, unionized pilots flying for cargo airlines Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (NASDAQ:AAWW), its Southern Air unit, and ABX Air, a unit of Air Transport Services Group (NASDAQ:ATSG), descended on Cincinnati to protest the lack of traction in contract talks that have dragged on for several years. But the pilots’ message wasn’t as much meant for the ears of Atlas and ATSG executives as it was for another company some 2,300 miles away.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) relies on Atlas and ATSG planes and crews to deliver shipments for its Amazon Air unit. About 20 percent of Atlas’ 123 planes fly for Amazon. At ATSG, the percentage is closer to 30 percent. Amazon also has substantial, albeit minority, equity stakes in Atlas and ATSG. Amazon, which did not respond to requests for comment, is monitoring the ongoing disputes, and it can’t be happy with the lack of resolution as well as the snail’s pace of progress, especially as the peak holiday season begins to come into focus.