Employees Say Amerijet Airplane Dumped 23,000 Pounds of Fuel in South Florida Waters

If you think your job sucks, try flying planes for Amerijet International. According to workers, the Fort Lauderdale-based cargo flight company has no restrooms on airplanes, and makes pilots squat in plastic bags during their intercontinental journeys.

Worse, pilots - who fly Bowing 727s at Miami International Airport -- say they're sometimes forced to work back-to-back 18-hour shifts. The workload leaves them exhausted as they navigate one of the most congested airspace in the country. (Can you say safety no-no?)

"They keep bending the rules as far as they can," Captain Gordon Shaylor told Riptide. "It's absolutely ridiculous." The 46-year-old native of England has worked for Amerijet since May 2007. Pilots like him earn salaries of about $30,000 annually.

Yesterday, the Business Travel Coalition called on U.S. congress to investigate the company. If what the BTC says is true, Amerijet is screwing more than just its employees.

Last Thursday, an Amerijet plane lost pressure and dumped 23, 000 pounds of fuel into South Florida waters, according to BTC. Maintenance problems have been so bad that planes are forced to turn mid-trip about four times a month. The company doesn't want to spend money to fix problems like this, says Captain Shaylor.

Kevin Mitchell, chairman of BTC says it's only a matter of time before there's an accident.: "It's like a fourth-world country...The working conditions are worse than the sweatshops of the 1930s."

Employees began striking last week. They're hoping to negotiate a union contract.

Adds Captain Shaylor: "I think [Amerijet] is in for a wake-up call."

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Natalie O'Neill
Contact: Natalie O'Neill