According to a report published by Wired this week, pilots for the United States-based Air Transport International, a cargo airline that transports Amazon packages from its fulfillment centers to airports across the country, have voted to authorize a strike. If the strike occurs in 2024, the company could experience stress in its logistics network that may result in slower order delivery for its U.S.-based customers.
Why Amazon Cargo Pilots Voted to Authorize a Strike
Instead of owning its air-based cargo operations itself, Amazon outsources the operation of its air service, Amazon Air, to a network of cargo airlines whose pilots fly Amazon-branded planes. Out of this airline network, Air Transport International (ATI) is Amazon’s largest freight provider.
The pilots at ATI reportedly voted to authorize the strike due to grievances that their pay has fallen behind during the three and a half years that its union has negotiated with ATI while overall wages in the industry have risen. ATI’s pilots union also cited the record attrition the airline is facing as its pilots depart to work for other carriers as another basis for their demands for higher pay. The union said that over 33% of ATI’s pilots left this year for competitors, while 27% of its pilots departed the year before. This exodus has resulted in tighter scheduling and increased pressure on ATI’s pilots that is “diminishing [our] ability to provide quality service to Amazon, according to Mike Sterling, chair of the ATI pilots’ union.
Per the Wired article, roughly 98% of ATI’s 640 pilots participated in the vote. Only one didn’t vote to authorize the strike.
How Will My Amazon Packages Be Affected if an ATI Strike Occurs?
If ATI’s pilots union does strike in 2024, Amazon could compensate by shifting volume to other air carriers operating under the Amazon Air umbrella. However, while ATI has pivoted in recent years to solely focus on providing service to Amazon, the majority of the other airlines servicing Amazon also transport cargo for other customers such as DHL.
Amazon could also resort to transporting a larger share of its packages by truck instead. However, relying on ground transportation as opposed to cargo flights delivering packages to airports closer to the company’s end consumers may result in slower delivery times and reduced service.