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Sun, Aug 20, 2023

ALPA: ATI Again Fails to Fill Flight-Deck Vacancies

Departing Pilot Attrition Hobbling Ohio Air-Carrier

For the second consecutive month, Air Transport International (ATI) has failed to fill Pilot In Command (PIC) vacancies left by extraordinary levels of pilot attrition. Year to date, the Wilmington, Ohio-headquartered cargo air-carrier has accepted no fewer than 155 resignations—a figure representing fully 29-percent of the company’s pilot cadre.

Notwithstanding ATI’s having awarded PIC upgrades to new-hires with little or no Boeing 767 flight experience, the air-carrier missed its staffing goal by upwards of 33-percent—filling only 67-percent of available PIC vacancies. The antecedent figure omits pilots already withdrawn from the vacancy award. The ATI pilot union has warned the carrier’s ongoing inability to upgrade Second In Commands (SICs) while experienced PIC’s depart the company in droves, left unaddressed, will likely occasion a staffing crisis.

ATI Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) Master Executive Council chair Captain Miker Sterling set forth: “Management’s failure to deliver a contract on par with the industry standard has driven many of our highly-experienced and hardworking pilots out the door. Add in that our pilots are being squeezed harder and harder each month with more day/night transitions, higher block times, shorter layovers, and an overall fatiguing environment that has so far been ignored by upper-management, and you have a recipe for even more attrition and no appetite for pilots to begin a career at ATI.”

ATI and ALPA have been in contract negotiations for more than three years and entered into mediation earlier this year. ATI and parent company Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) have made no meaningful progress on big-ticket issues the likes of compensation and retirement. Asked about ATI pilot-negotiations during ATSG’s second-quarter earnings call, CEO Rich Corrado stated that he “doesn’t expect the CBA to be settled prior to 2024.”

Captain Sterling added: “After negotiating for more than three years, it’s disheartening to hear that ATSG is not serious about reaching an agreement. The sluggish mentality of ATSG leadership is driving pilots away from what was once a destination airline. ATI has already seen its pipeline of U.S. military pilots disintegrate as they discover that ATI is not well-suited to professional progression and the other traditional pilot pipeline—regional jet airlines—is drying up as those candidates seek carriers with stronger pay/retirement packages and less fatiguing work rules. Delivering a contract with much-needed improvements in pay, retirement, and work rules will allow ATI to attract and retain experienced pilots and may polish ATI’s currently tarnished reputation within the industry.”

Founded in 1931 and representing over 74,000 pilots in the employs of 42 U.S. and Canadian airlines, the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) is the world’s largest and most influential pilot union.

FMI: www.alpa.org

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