Atlas looks back on record results in 2018

Bill Flynn, Atlas Air president and chief executive

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW) has reported record fourth-quarter and full-year volumes, revenue and earnings in 2018.

Moreover, the Purchase, New York-headquartered provider of outsourced aircraft and aviation operating services has predicted continued growth this year.

“2018 was another great year for Atlas, with substantial growth in the scale, diversity and profitability of our business,” president and chief executive William Flynn declared.

“Going forward, we are excited about Atlas’ future and the future of airfreight. We expect record Atlas volumes and earnings in 2019 driven by our multi-year initiatives, which enable us to serve a greater range of customers and provide a solid platform for future growth initiatives.

“Our focus is on express and e-commerce, and fast-growing markets in Asia and elsewhere, such as South America, where we had the strongest year [in 2018] in the company’s history.

“As airfreight tonnage continues to grow, further globalisation will require time-definite air networks to facilitate the flow of goods,” Flynn added.

“We are well-positioned to capitalise on the scale and scope of our domestic and worldwide operations, to drive record volume, revenue, adjusted EBITDA [earnings before income, taxation, depreciation and amortisation] and adjusted net income this year, and to further reduce our net leverage ratio,” he insisted.

“We expect to benefit from a full-year of flying by the aircraft we added in 2018 for customers such as Asiana, DHL Express, Inditex and SF Express.”

Plus: “We will see our first year of flying 20 767-300s for Amazon [and] we look forward to operating three incremental 747-400 freighters for Nippon Cargo Airlines, which will increase our near-term fleet to 115 aircraft.

“And we anticipate that the flying we do for the military will be higher than the flying we did in 2018.”

Flynn continued: “These opportunities build on the growth in our business mix, customer base, fleet and operational capabilities.

“In addition to delivering record results in 2018, we added 16 aircraft to our operating fleet in response to customer demand, with more than 100 planes for the first time.

“We ended the year with 112 aircraft across five fleet types that are well-suited to our growing domestic and regional cargo and passenger operations, as well as our long-haul, international operations.

“We also ramped up for Amazon as scheduled, which included successfully managing multiple station openings throughout the US,” he said.

Fourth-quarter and full-year results

Revenue in the fourth quarter of 2018 rose by 22% compared to 2017, reaching a record $765m. Atlas’ aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) segment contribution in the fourth quarter of 2018 increased slightly compared with the prior-year period, primarily due to increases in B747-400 freighter revenue per block hour and volumes.

Block hours grew by 19% during the period, reflecting the start of B747-400 flying for several new customers and increased B767 flying for Amazon.

Over the course of the whole of 2018, revenue grew year on year by 24% to another record figure of $2.7bn.

Atlas said that it expects to see continued solid business and earnings growth in 2019, thanks to a contribution of expanded aircraft inventory this year, new customers and new services for existing customers, and the expected “moderate” increase in demand for airfreight capacity. 

AAWW is the parent company of Atlas Air, Inc., Southern Air Holdings, Inc. and Titan Aviation Holdings, Inc., and is the majority shareholder of Polar Air Cargo Worldwide, Inc.

Its various businesses in combination operate the world’s largest fleet of B747 freighter aircraft and provide customers with an array of B747, 777, 767, 757 and 737 aircraft for domestic, regional and international cargo and passenger operations.

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