193 UPS Pilots Take Buyouts, Regional Offers Soft Landing


A total of 193 pilots have accepted buyouts offered by UPS, and they can all walk straight into a job at American Airlines subsidiary PSA. According to Freight Waves, UPS offered the buyouts in August and hoped that 167 pilots would bite. At the same time, PSA, which is actively recruiting pilots, asked UPS if it would be OK to contact the pilots who decided to leave. Those pilots are being offered $250,000 signing bonuses and left-seat jobs in Embraer and CRJ regional jets. As we reported earlier, the same deal is being offered to FedEx pilots.

Although the signing bonus sounds generous, it’s not quite a year’s pay for senior captains at UPS. Freight Waves says a 30-year captain on the 747-8 makes about $34,000 a month while FedEx top-tier pilots get about $30,000 a month. All parcel carriers are up against new trends in consumer spending. People are spending more on services and experiences and less on merchandise and instead of having goods shipped, more are ordering online and picking their stuff up at a brick-and-mortar store.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. I can tell you a grand total of ZERO UPS Captains that took the early retirement option are going to PSA. Work for 1/3 of their normal pay rate and have to deal with passengers….HA HA HA!!!!

  2. GP makes a point about pax vs. boxes but… I am sure that a few folks will go to PSA, especially amongst the younger folks that aren’t quite ready to quit flying yet. Another feature to ease the “pain” of a smaller salary is whether the ability to sit “reserve” exists. If the company is “manned” sufficiently and the reserve force isn’t called out daily, the extra time at home can be a temptation. Sure, you will work for min-pay but the extra time at home and fewer trips to the airport will be a draw for some.

    • Excellent point. Lost in all the pilot hoopla is the rapidly aging mechanic and maintenance workforce with few replacements in sight. I wonder if FedEx and UPS are offering similar deals to their maintenance staff. Doubtful.

      • Unless the industry wakes up in 10 years GA will be “gutted” from A&P’s all who have gone to the airlines. We have developed our own in house “Apprenticeship” program supported by the State of Texas to bring in new technicians and retain them in GA.

        Each year I attend the IA refresher course, out of 100 attendees, by polling the group……..80% are over the age of 50 with 20% or more retiring and less that 5% new coming in the door. GA shops right now are closing due to no or low employee interest. In 10 years GA will be on the ropes if the industry does not change.

  3. “[…] instead of having goods shipped, more are ordering online and picking their stuff up at a brick-and-mortar store” in my opinion makes little sense as an explanation for less air cargo demand – people are only driving a few miles to the shops to buy what they want, and the goods still need to get to the shops from wherever they were produced.

    • But they go by train and truck to distribution centers first and then the stores. No air transport required.