April 5, 2019

Statement from Bill Flynn, Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Air Worldwide

Our commitment to safety is the foundation of everything we do at Atlas Air. We thank our dedicated crew of more than 2,000 pilots and 1,500 ground staff for sharing this commitment and putting it into practice every day. Atlas proudly serves the air cargo and passenger charter needs of a broad array of customers, operating over 70,000 flights a year. We are responsible for the crews that we hire, the training we provide, and the aircraft we maintain.

Since our founding over a quarter of a century ago, we have worked hard to earn and maintain a record of safety and compliance. We are heartbroken by the loss of Flight 3591 that claimed the lives of three of our friends and colleagues. We are working closely with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to learn what happened, why it happened and what needs to be done to prevent a recurrence.

Recent comments to the media by a handful of pilots and union representatives are misleading and inaccurate, and inappropriately connect the Flight 3591 tragedy with ongoing contract negotiations. This irresponsibly ignores the facts:

  • Atlas’ fleet and workforce meet or exceed all government safety standards.
  • Atlas pilot training includes multiple reviews, evaluations and proficiency checks to comply with FAA regulations.
  • Atlas’ pilots operate for multiple customers. These customers play no role in setting pilot pay and work rules.
  • The schedules our pilots fly are governed by rules established within their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), all of which are well within Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs).
  • At Atlas, when and if pilots determine they are unable to fly due to fatigue or illness, their request to step aside is honored 100 percent of the time.

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.

Atlas thanks its dedicated employees for their commitment to safety that we all share, and pledges to continue prioritizing safety above all else.