FedEx Pilots Advised To Work For Regional Airline


FedEx has given some career advice to its pilots: Go work for someone else. According to Freight Waves, the world’s largest parcel shipping company says it doesn’t have enough business to keep its pilots fully employed so Pat DiMento, the company’s VP of flight operations and training, says they should take an offer by American Airlines regional subsidiary PSA. PSA is particularly targeting FedEx pilots with a $250,000 signing bonus to become PSA captains and a direct pathway to the mainline after time with the regional.

“While I understand 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 make a move,” DiMento wrote in a memo to pilots. It was reported in July that FedEx had about 700 more pilots than it needed since parcel volumes took a nosedive earlier this year. The volume has continued to drop so the surplus is likely growing. The carrier had about 5,800 pilots as of July.

Regional airlines are desperate for flight crew, especially captains. The big airlines have recruited hundreds of captains from the regionals as FOs and are now pretty much back to pre-COVID pilot numbers. The regionals, meanwhile, have cut hundreds of flights and parked airplanes, largely because of the shortage of captains.

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. Covid hit: Passenger carriers furloughed, cargo carriers hired like crazy. Covid’s over: Passenger carriers hire like crazy and cargo carriers try to figure out what to do with all the pilots they just hired. Thats the 121 world. Feast of famine.

  2. While I don’t disagree G P, I also wonder how much of it is inflation/poor economy?

    Personally my wife and I have cut back substantially on online purchases, and spending in general. Most of my coworkers have expressed doing the same. Can’t be good for cargo services.

    • FedEx (and UPS) market share of package delivery has been steadily declining s, even if the total number of packages delivered was the same, their business would be shrinking. Amazon is now a larger package delivery company than FedEx.

    • I would guess that GP is right on. In the decades I’ve lived this world, these cycles have repeated more times than I can recall. And I’m truly confused by the “inflation/poor economy” thought?

      Last time I checked inflation has dropped to the point that it’s now about 0.5% lower than wage growth, which means effectively no inflation since wage growth outpaces it. And the economy? Huh? The usual numbers such as GDP growth or job growth are both well above average levels compared to the past 5, 10, 15 years.

      But as a free market fan, I tend to look at what industry is doing and there is more investment in manufacturing infrastructure by private industry now than there has been in decades. And this is especially true in aviation manufacturing, they can’t seem to keep up with demand, at least in the turbine end of the spectrum.

      And based on the number of Amazon trucks and planes I see around, never mind the earnings calls from UPS and FedEx, guessing that might be part of the issue.

  3. Grounds ops have been supplanting air ops at FE for several years now. #2 advice of the day after the PSA advice there now is “if flying isn’t working out for you go get your CDL”.

  4. Just a thought, but Amazon is using their own airplanes (contracted?), so I would say without having studied in detail that competition is one factor. I do know that were I live a huge Amazon distribution warehouse was built recently and their delivery trucks are everywhere.

  5. Since both FedEx and PSA pilots are represented by the same union, I would expect many adjustments and guardrails to protect current PSA pilots from unfair and unwarranted displacement. IMHO, if an opportunity to upgrade to captain slot for a PSA first officer is now held back by a small herd of FedEx pilots with $250K of incentive money in their pockets – that would not sit well (the word ‘galling’ comes to mind). Any agreement between these two carriers needs to be sorted out to everyone’s satisfaction, at the union level first; presumably such sorting is underway.

  6. It’s competition from Amazon’s Prime Air.

    The industry will never be stable. Helane Becker, long time airline analyst is saying that current labor costs are not “sustainable”. Guess we’ll see.