As we work to negotiate a new contract that increases pay for our pilots, there has been much misinformation spread by Union Leaders in an attempt to gain leverage in contract negotiations. The facts tell a very different story.
MYTH: Safety is being compromised because our pilots are being overworked.
FACT: SAFETY COMES FIRST, ALWAYS
Our commitment to safety is the foundation of everything we do at Atlas and Southern. We thank our dedicated crew of over 2,000 pilots and over 1,500 ground staff for sharing this commitment and putting it into practice every day. This has enabled us to safely operate nearly 60,000 departures to 425 destinations in 105 countries, with 340,000 block hours a year.
Since our founding over a quarter of a century ago, we have worked hard to earn and maintain a record of safety and compliance.
Both Atlas and our pilots have legal and contractual obligations to adhere to rigorous safety standards set forward by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Department of Defense and the International Air Transport Association. The Company works on joint committees with the Union to address key topics on the safety and wellbeing of our pilots.
Atlas pilot training includes multiple reviews, evaluations and proficiency checks to comply with FAA regulations. Additionally, Atlas Air pilots flying hour experience is well above the minimums required by the FAA. Industry Regulations stipulate a 1,500 hour minimum requirement to obtain license. Our average pilot has well over 6,500 hours of experience.
Atlas’ fleet and workforce meet or exceed all government safety standards.
MYTH: Pilots are burning out because they are being forced to fly unruly schedules.
FACT: WORK CONDITIONS PRIORITIZE SAFETY AND ARE THE RESULT OF COMPANY, UNION COLLABORATION
The schedules our pilots fly are governed by rules established within their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between Atlas/Southern and the Union, all of which are well within Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs).
Atlas Air pilots fly an average of 42 hours a month, compared to the industry average of 53 hours a month – which is about 20% less block hours a month than the industry average.
Atlas has also invested heavily in a fatigue risk management program and related best practices. These include: constant quality assurance and control reporting, formal methods for identifying hazards and mitigating risk, focus on training of employees, and flight data monitoring. It is Company policy that when or if a pilot notifies the Company they are unable to fly due to fatigue or illness, his or her request is honored 100 percent of the time.
MYTH: Atlas cannot keep up with customer’s demands.
FACT: ATLAS DELIVERS FOR ITS CUSTOMERS, IS RECRUITING AND RETAINING TOP TIER TALENT
The Company has a proven and consistent record of delivering high quality service to its vast customer base across our operations.
Atlas Air’s on-time flight performance for its customers consistently meets or exceeds customer expectations and contractual obligations.
In fact, the Company is growing because of this outstanding record of customer service. Our pilot workforce has doubled in the past 4 years from more than 1,000 to over 2,000 today – which is a minimum of 20% growth in pilots year after year.
Our average pilot has well over 6,500 hours of experience. Industry regulations stipulate a 1500 hour minimum requirement to obtain license.
Despite the competitive job market, we continue to attract highly qualified, top tier talent who are attracted to work for Atlas because of our global and diverse operation. On average, Atlas Air Captains have 12 years of experience, while First Officers have 2.5 years of experience.
The Company is eager for a new and updated contract to reward its existing workforce and recruit new team members.
MYTH: Atlas does not want to increase pilot pay.
FACT: PILOTS CURRENTLY RECEIVE ANNUAL RAISES – AND WE WANT TO INCREASE THEM IN THE FUTURE
Since 2016, Atlas has been pressing to enter into its next Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement. We have taken legal action to move these proceedings forward because we want to pay our pilots more.
The pilots currently receive pay increases on an annual basis under the current Collective Bargaining Agreements (with the exception of pilots who may have maxed out under the pay scale due to longevity). These increases amount to approximately 3% of average salary.
We are a successful, profitable company and are committed to increasing the current pay scales. We want to reward our pilot workforce for the significant role they play in making that happen.
MYTH: Atlas does not want to agree to a new contract for its pilots.
FACT: ATLAS WANTS TO MOVE NEGOTIATIONS FORWARD AND FINALIZE A CONTRACT
The truth is the Company is eager to reach a new contract. The Company is committed to working with the Union to reach an updated Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) as soon as possible.
When Atlas merged with Southern Air in 2016, the Company and the union each had its own obligations under the contract:
- The Company was required to notify the union that it was triggering the merger provisions in the contract. It did so.
- Union Leaders were required to 1) acknowledge the merger provisions and 2) supply a seniority list for pilots of the merged airline so pay and benefits could be determined under the new contract. Union Leaders did neither. In fact, a federal court found that the union had engaged in an illegal work slowdown during these negotiations.
Until a new JCBA is reached, the existing Collective Bargaining Agreements continue in full force and effect and govern the respective pay and work rules of Atlas and Southern pilots.
MYTH: Atlas customers control the operations.
FACT: ATLAS PILOTS ARE OUR PILOTS – NOT OUR CUSTOMERS’ PILOTS
Contrary to what the Union Leadership suggests, our customers play no role governing our operations or setting work rules. Atlas and Southern are certificated air carriers that maintain operational control over their own operations in strict accordance with FAA regulations. Atlas operates nearly 60,000 flights a year, and we are responsible for the crews that we hire, the training we provide, and the aircraft we maintain.