For several years, airlines have also been having a harder time staffing cargo flights, Russo said. “The way that our companies have tried to keep up with everything is to stretch the operations thinner and thinner. A lot of the older pilots are retiring, and bigger airlines offering better work packages, like FedEx, United, Delta, and UPS, are taking nearly all of our younger, highly trained and educated crews.”
The result, he said, is that cargo flights tend to having minimal crews of workers who are just starting out, aren’t used to the demanding schedules and labor, and are unfamiliar with the airline employment standards of an earlier era. “This type of flying is not entry-level,” Russo said.
“We’re also starting to have concerns about not just the viability of the operation, but pilot safety. The planes are old, and need a lot of maintenance. Our crews are fatigued, and they’re being asked to work on their days off. That’s right now — not even during the holiday rush.”