A Kalitta Air B-747 at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
As one of ALPA’s newest member groups, the pilots of Kalitta Air are counting on making the most of the Association’s resources to help them enforce their current industry-competitive agreement and gain improvements in upcoming negotiations.
Previously represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Kalitta pilots are covered by a four-year collective bargaining agreement that has an amendable date of Dec. 20, 2020. The National Mediation Board certified ALPA as the bargaining representative for the pilots in February 2018 after announcing that a strong majority of the flightdeck crewmembers designated the Association as the group’s choice for representation. The pilots sent a unified message that they were ready to move forward with ALPA.
The Association is now preparing to represent the all-cargo airline’s nearly 600 pilots in negotiations set to begin next year with the Ypsilanti (Oscada), Mich.-based company, which is solely owned by its founder, Conrad Kalitta.
“Our Master Executive Council [MEC] is dedicated to improving safety, advocating for our crewmembers, and establishing an even stronger relationship with Kalitta Air,” said Capt. Scott Nelson, the pilots’ MEC chair, who was elected with overwhelming support during the pilot group’s first ALPA election following certification. “We believe we’re on solid footing with ALPA. With the Association’s vast resources and expert staff, our future looks bright.”
With anticipated growth through the foreseeable future, the relationship between the home-based pilots and the company is currently very strong. Kalitta pilots are especially optimistic about their partnership with ALPA and the tools the Association will provide to help the group maintain its current position in the industry as the company continues to expand.
Now that the MEC’s organizational and committee structure is beginning to take on its full shape, the group’s leaders are working with ALPA staff to develop the pilot group's website and other communications vehicles. This is especially important given the wide range of destinations to which Kalitta flies and the nature of the pilots’ schedules, which are often two-week assignments. “The MEC is very active on a daily basis, fulfilling representation duties and advising our pilots of their rights and obligations under the current collective bargaining agreement,” observed Nelson.
Kalitta Air began service in November 2000. With customers ranging from DHL to Asiana Airlines to the U.S. military, Kalitta Air provides scheduled or on-demand charter service for customers in the United States and around the world. The global cargo carrier currently operates an all-freighter fleet of 27 B-747-400s internationally and five B-767-300s domestically for DHL. Kalitta Air has purchased a B-777, which is scheduled to begin service by July 2019.