Release #07.039
July 31, 2007

ASTAR Air Cargo Pilots Send Message to Management: Stop Stalling Contract Talks

WILMINGTON, OH—Angry and frustrated over their managements’ deliberately slow pace in contract negotiations, ASTAR Air Cargo’s pilot workforce sent a strong message to management that their patience has run out. The pilots, members of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, (ALPA) unanimously voted to authorize their union leaders to take any measure necessary to secure a fair and equitable contract.

With contract negotiations nearing the four-year mark, union leaders have been directed to look at any and all measures available to them, including sending out a member strike-authorization ballot and seeking a proffer from the National Mediation Board that could lead to a possible strike.

“ASTAR pilots have recently read several news media reports speculating about business deals involving purchases or mergers being orchestrated by our management,” said Capt. Earl Smith, Master Executive Council Chairman. “But there is no speculation about our reality: we still do not have a contract three-and-a-half years after the amendable date of our last agreement, and opportunities for career advancement are growing more limited every month.”

Despite constant recognition for outstanding on-time performance in the express shipping industry, ASTAR pilots have not received a raise in nearly five years other than previously negotiated longevity increases. ASTAR pilots are among the most effective pilots in their industry, yet they are paid the least among pilots for the top three cargo carriers (FedEx, UPS, and DHL).

“Our situation with management is simply unacceptable, and we intend to remedy this at the bargaining table with the full support of every ASTAR pilot and our brothers and sisters at ALPA-represented airlines,” Smith said.

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 60,000 pilots at 41 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at

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ALPA CONTACT: Ron Lovas, 703-481-4468