FedEx Express is so overstaffed with pilots that it is now trying to get some of them to apply for positions with a regional passenger airline, which is wholly owned by American Airlines.
In a recent memo, the cargo airline’s vice president of flight operations and training, Pat DiMento, warned FedEx pilots that with air cargo demand down and revenues falling to 2019 levels, the remaining work would be spread thin amongst the pilot workforce for the ‘foreseeable future’.
As a result, DiMento said FedEx had struck a deal with PSA Airlines that would allow FedEx pilots to move over to the regional carrier through an expedited interview process and get them into the Captain seat.
As an additional sweetener, PSA is offering a $250,000 sign-up bonus and a guaranteed route through to work for the mainline American Airlines brand in the future.
“While I understand that this is not something that will appeal to every pilot, for those of you who are frustrated with current flight hours, career progression, or have just been on the fence about available options, you may consider this unique opportunity enough of an incentive to move,” DiMento conceded into the memo that was obtained by aviation insider @XJonNYC on X.
“Frankly, I was pessimistic about how attractive the opportunity might be when first approached, but the details are compelling,” DiMento continued.
The memo says that FedEx is currently navigating “turbulent market conditions” and that a “slowing economy” will likely see more cargo passengers make the switch to passenger airlines in the future.
Earlier this year, FedEx pilots rejected a new four-year contract that would have secured them a 30% pay rise over the length of the agreement. Contract talks are set to resume next week, although slowing cargo demand could make for fraught negotiations and no guarantee that FedEx will improve upon its last offer.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents pilots at FedEx, has called for pay rises in line with what commercial passenger airline pilots have been offered, such as the 40% pay rise for American Airlines pilots.
As DiMento notes, however, passenger airlines continue to enjoy robust demand and are hiring pilots “at a pace we haven’t seen in recent history with no apparent end in sight”>
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.