Release #06.DHL
November 14, 2006

ASTAR Pilots Picket Company
Demand Contract After Three Years of Delayed Talks

WILMINGTON, OH – More than 140 pilots of ASTAR Air Cargo, a unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, today demonstrated their anger over the company’s deliberately slow pace in negotiating a new contract by picketing in downtown Wilmington, Ohio, home of their company’s hub operations. The informational picketing served as a public representation of the pilots’ unity and frustration with the lack of movement in their contract negotiations.

“For three years, the pilots have been negotiating with ASTAR Air Cargo to secure a fair and equitable contract,” said Capt. Earl Smith, master executive chairman of the ASTAR pilot group. “It is our belief that the company has not responded in kind. Despite constant recognition for outstanding on-time performance in the express shipping industry, ASTAR pilots have not received a raise in nearly four years other than previously negotiated longevity increases.”

“Today’s informational picketing marks the first of its kind in ASTAR Air Cargo history. Not once when ASTAR Air Cargo was DHL Airways, a part of global shipping giant DHL, did the pilots find it necessary to stage a public demonstration during any contract negotiations. Only with current management have the pilots found it necessary to take their dispute public. This is an unusual step for a carrier with an almost unprecedented and extremely lucrative cost plus contract with DHL,” Smith said.

ASTAR pilots are among the most effective pilots in the express air cargo industry with the best on-time performance record yet they are paid the least among the pilots for the top three carriers. Further, the current contract permits the ASTAR pilots to work more hours than other pilots groups of the big four air express carriers for less overall compensation.

ASTAR pilots carry roughly 50% of the weight out of Wilmington, Ohio each night for DHL, the world’s largest and most experienced international air express network. Prior to 2003, ASTAR Air Cargo was known as DHL Airways where a majority of today’s 525 ASTAR pilots were hired. Before August 2003 ASTAR/DHL Airways pilots carried nearly 100% of DHL cargo in the United States and more than 50% of DHL’s international cargo to and from the United States.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing 61,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at

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ALPA CONTACT: Ron Lovas, (703) 481-4468