Release #: ATI 24.01
January 30, 2024

ATI Pilots Request Release to Strike

WASHINGTON—Today, the Air Transport International (ATI) pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), officially requested the National Mediation Board (NMB) declare an impasse and proffer binding arbitration in their contract negotiations with their airline. This is the first step in pursuing a legal strike to achieve an industry-standard contract.  

“In November, 99.7 percent of ATI pilots voted to strike, should it be necessary to achieve the market-rate contract we have earned,” said Capt. Mike Sterling, chair of the ATI ALPA Master Executive Council. “For three and half years we have been working to reach an agreement. No progress has been made over the last 18 months, and management has made it clear that they are in no hurry to finalize our contract. The lack of progress is totally unacceptable. Requesting release to strike is an unfortunate but necessary step at this point. All of our pilots are taking these negotiations very seriously—seriously enough to strike for what we deserve—even if management is not.”

Before a strike can take place, the National Mediation Board must first decide that additional mediation efforts would not be productive and offer the parties an opportunity to arbitrate the contract dispute. If either side declines the arbitration, both parties enter a 30-day “cooling off” period, after which the parties can engage in self-help—a strike by the union or a lockout by management. 

“We, the pilots of ATI, have invested heavily in growing the airline since Amazon operations began in 2015. We delivered record reliability during the 2023 holiday season, in an overwhelming demonstration of our commitment to Amazon. While we help generate more than $500 million in revenue for our corporation, Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (ASTG), they ignore their responsibility to deliver a market-rate pilot agreement,” said Sterling. “Our pilots have already earned a new agreement and are willing to go the distance to achieve a contract that recognizes their skills and contributions to ATI and parent-company ATSG.”

ATI has faced staggering pilot attrition over the last two years as pilot groups across the industry achieve significant gains in contract negotiations, making careers at other carriers much more appealing. In 2023, 250 pilots left ATI—a startling 45 percent of the airline’s pilots.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents more than 77,000 pilots at 43 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit or follow us on Twitter @ALPAPilots.


CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703-481-4440 or