Atlas Air flourishing in challenging times

As far as the air cargo industry goes, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings occupies a rare patch of ground. It has the enviable position of seeing demand for its solutions whether the global economy and hence the air cargo industry, be sky-high or down in the dumps as it currently is. Donald Urquhart has the story.


Atlas Air flourishing in challenging times


This business expansion can be seen for instance in the expansion of its ACMI model on the B747 side and then subsequently to its B767 fleet, to include both cargo and passenger carriers, as well as doing supply chain operations for Boeing. Atlas was awarded a nineyear contract in 2010 for operating the Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter, or ‘Dreamlifter’, for transporting aircraft parts to Boeing’s US facilities from suppliers around the world. And as Steen says of the contract, “you could argue we operate for a shipper even.” The passenger ACMI business on the other hand involves operating a premium passenger private charter service for the US-Africa Energy Association (USAEA) through a contract struck in 2009 with SonAir which provided two newly customised B747-400 aircraft.

The charter service which has become known as the ‘Houston Express’ ferries USAEA members working on long-term energy projects between Houston and Luanda, Angola.

The group is also approved by the US Department of Defense and began operating B747-400 passenger charters for the military, subsequently changing the configuration to three B767-300s. The group also operates ten B747-400Fs for long-time customer DHL Express, which are in Polar Air Cargo livery and will also be adding one B767-200F.