Coronavirus: UPS pilots can opt out of China flight assignments under agreement with union

Credit: Kelly Yamanouchi

Credit: Kelly Yamanouchi

The pilots union at UPS has struck a deal with the company to allow pilots to opt out of flight assignments to China.

The deal between Sandy Springs-based UPS and the Independent Pilots Association allows pilots to take a personal leave of absence for trips that include a flight in or out of mainland China, according to pilots union president Robert Travis.

The agreement addresses pilots’ concerns at the package delivery giant about safety during the coronavirus outbreak, according to the union.

UPS said in a written statement that crew members who notify the company that they are not comfortable flying China routes due to the coronavirus will be temporarily replaced on those flights, “ensuring UPS will continue to provide air express service for our customers.”

UPS does not have flights into Wuhan, the center of the outbreak, but has continued to operate flights to other parts of China.

There is a three-day transition period until the pilots agreement is fully implemented, the union said.

UPS, which has more than 6,000 employees in China, has suspended some package pickups and deliveries in China and other countries in Asia.

The shipping company said it “continues to operate in support of customer demand and is ready to return to normal operations as soon as commercial conditions return to normal.” It said it is prioritizing healthcare and aid shipments for companies and partners who send supplies to China.