UPS is hiring more pilots
by Rockwell Sands @

UPS is Hiring More Pilots to Support Rising Cargo Demand from its USPS Contract

UPS pilots' union confirms the company plans to hire hundreds of pilots to account for rising cargo demand on the heels of its USPS deal

To support an increase in air cargo demand due to its recent contract with the Postal Service, UPS is reportedly planning to hire more than 300 pilots, according to the union which represents the company’s pilots.

FedEx Was the Postal Service’s Main Air Cargo Provider for Over 20 Years

For over 20 years, USPS was FedEx’s largest customer for the company’s air-based Express segment, and the contract generated almost $2 in annual revenue for FedEx. Last week, the company said it would not renew its contract with USPS, citing unfavorable terms. Subsequently, UPS announced it would become the Postal Service’s primary air cargo provider.

The Independent Pilots Association—which is the bargaining representative for over 3,300 pilots at UPS—said in a statement shared with the logistics trade publication Freightwaves that “UPS HR is resuming their pilot hiring process to account for the additional volume surge that will occur as the year progresses.” The union added that “the initial projected estimate for hiring is expected to be 300+ additional crew members,” but noted that the figure is subject to change.

USPS Doesn’t Maintain an Aircraft Fleet & Relies on Other Carriers to Transport Cargo

Unlike private carriers such as UPS and FedEx, the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t own or operate any aircraft as part of its delivery fleet. Instead, to transport cargo such as Priority Mail parcels, the agency relies on “leasing” space in other carriers’ aircraft. These planes then transport USPS products around the country via domestic cargo flights.

According to UPS, flights transporting USPS cargo typically operate during the daytime, as opposed to UPS’ express network, which operates overnight (these flights carry UPS packages sent with express services such as Next Day Air and 2nd Day Air).

As UPS Plans to Hire More Pilots, USPS Continues Expanding to Ground-Based Delivery

While UPS plans to expand its workforce of air cargo pilots to account for the intake of USPS cargo, the Postal Service is continuing its transition away from air transport to more ground-based methods. Relying less on expensive air-based transportation and moving to more cost-effective ground-based alternatives for the majority of the parcels in its network is a main initiative of the Postal Service’s 10-year Delivering for America Plan, which aims to cut costs and boost the financial sustainability of USPS.

In July 2023, USPS stopped offering First Class Package and Parcel Select Ground as part of its shipping services. Instead, it rolled both services into the new offering USPS Ground Advantage. Since that date, Ground Advantage has been the Postal Service’s most affordable service (outside of Media Mail). As its name suggests, all Ground Advantage shipments travel via ground transportation only.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share via Email

No Comments

Be the first to comment!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Shipping Guides