As the peak air freight season draws ever closer – FedEx is reportedly paying retirement-age pilots bonuses from $40,000 to $110,00 in order to keep them flying into next year, according to a report on Reuters.
The bonuses Reuters said is outlined in the latest pilot contract and is due to a wave of pilot retirements, global pilot shortages and increasing cargo demand powered by the growth of global e-commerce which are all putting pressure on the express package firm.
Reuters said any problem in maintaining capacity for FedEx, disrupts supply chains at a time when they are already being destabilised by international trade wars. FedEx and rival UPS are seen as vital to the power the US economic engine.
The news outlet reports that two senior FedEx managers familiar with the strategy as saying the company offered cash bonuses to retain retiring pilots through the holiday shipping surge that stretches from the US Thanksgiving holiday in November through year-end.
Reuters said FedEx expects to lose about 150-200 of its 5,000 or so pilots this year – and around the same number annually for the foreseeable future – as more approach the retirement age of 65.