AI-ID - Generative AI Tracker - October 2023 Banner

FedEx Nudges Pilots to Airline Jobs Amid Shipping Lull

FedEx, Microsoft Unveil ‘Logistics-as-a-Service’

With shipping rates down, FedEx is telling its pilots to seek employment elsewhere.

More specifically, the freight company is encouraging pilots to look for work flying for a division of American Airlines, Bloomberg reported Monday (Nov. 6).

“Given the softness in air cargo demand across the industry and current FedEx flight operations staffing levels, we shared information about this unique opportunity with our pilots,” a FedEx spokesperson said, per the report. “Their recognition of the quality of our crew force is clear in this recruitment initiative that provides FedEx pilots an additional career path opportunity.”

Bloomberg’s story follows earlier reporting from trade publication FreightWaves, which said overstaffed FedEx Express was pushing pilots to apply with American Airlines subsidiary PSA Airlines. That airline is offering FedEx pilots a fast interview process, $250,000 signing bonuses, and a direct line to fly for American Airlines.

The news comes as freight companies are contending with a drop in shipping volumes following a pandemic-era boom. FedEx said in September that it expected package volumes to continue their downward trajectory.

Last month saw reports that both it and rival UPS had begun offering discounts and cost relief to customers in the face of what could be a weaker holiday season. Most logistics and fulfillment companies plan to keep their holiday hiring flat this year as consumer spending forecasts remain uncertain.

Meanwhile, the travel sector is also facing an uncertain future. Holiday travel plans might already be locked in, but what happens after the holidays remains uncertain, according to PYMNTS Intelligence data examining the stresses on spending through the next few months.

“And since two-thirds of consumers have indicated that they see the holiday season as among the most financially challenging periods of the year — with 26% pointing to vacation costs as a key contributor to their financial stress — the spending on experiences may have gotten its most outsized surge for 2023,” a PYMNTS report said.

Fifty-five percent of consumers facing seasonal swings in financial status have pointed to events and celebrations as one of the roots of seasonal financial distress.

“And in the meantime, gift giving still is top of mind (spending at retailers still remains high),” PYMNTS wrote. “As 2023 gives way to 2024, services and leisure-related spending may see further deceleration.”