Atlas Air opens pathway deal for Ameriflight pilots

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Atlas Air and Southern Air have signed a pilot pathway agreement with Ameriflight, which pilot unions say highlights staffing issues.

The Pilot Pathway Program guarantees qualified Ameriflight pilots an interview with Atlas Air and Southern Air.

Participants will gain experience fulfilling a number of benchmarks while at Ameriflight, including Atlas’ ATP/CTP programme, professional/career development programmes and more.

Successful completion of the programme and acceptance of employment will result in the pilot being placed aircraft classes including Boeing 747s with Atlas Air for higher-level pilots or Boeing 737s with Southern Air for newer pilots.

Atlas Air president and chief operating officer, John Dietrich says: “Our business is growing, and our airlines are a great place to build a career. Innovative partnerships like this one help us ensure a solid pipeline of qualified candidates dedicated to a career in aviation, which is at the centre of today’s modern global economy.”

Ameriflight chief executive officer, Paul Chase says: “We have made a commitment to our team and the industry that Ameriflight will be the nation’s top place for pilots to become professional, major-airline ready, aviators. This is why we choose to align ourselves with the world’s best companies, like Atlas Air Worldwide.”

Pilots say this shows the staffing issues are serious, with long-time Atlas Air pilot and executive council for Atlas Air pilots of Teamsters Local 1224, Robert Kirchner saying: “For years, pilots at Atlas Air and Southern Air have been sounding the alarm on an urgent staffing problem. Although AAWW has long denied these issues, we see this new agreement as a tacit acknowledgement of the lack of pilot staff.

“But pilots like me know that no pathway programme can solve the many workplace problems at the carriers. Without an industry standard contract, the problem will not be resolved but only masked, which means the only practical solution to the hiring problem is to come to the table and settle a fair contract with the pilots.”