‘Exciting’ 2017 for Atlas and positive outlook for 2018

US-based Freighter operator and lessor Atlas Air Worldwide (AAWW) has reported record 2017 fourth-quarter earnings and record full-year revenues, with expectations of further business growth this year.
AAWW’s revenue rose by 19% in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to the same three months of 2017, while adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 14% year-on-year.
Six Boeing 747-400 freighters were added to the Atlas fleet, with two entering service in 2017 and four still to enter service this year.
Meanwhile, five B767-300 aircraft were placed with Amazon during the quarter, raising the number in Amazon service to 12, with 20 to be placed by year end 2018.
Record aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) segment revenues and contribution in the fourth quarter of 2017 were primarily driven by a significant growth in block-hour volumes, Atlas said.
Block-hour growth during the period reflected B747-400 flying for several new customers, 747-8 flying for Cathay Pacific Cargo, additional seasonal flying for express operators and the ramp-up of 767-300 operations for Amazon.
President and chief executive William Flynn said: “The strategic initiatives that we have put in place over many years have transformed our company.”
He continued: “Our focus on express, e-commerce and fast-growing Asian markets has broadened our customer base and fleet.
“As a result, we were well-positioned to capitalize on market dynamics and deliver fourth-quarter and full-year volumes, revenues, EBITDA and net income that grew sharply compared to the prior year.”
In his outlook, Flynn explained: “2017 was an exciting year for Atlas and we expect that to continue into 2018. We are operating in a strong airfreight environment, underpinned by global economic growth.
“We see tremendous opportunity for continued growth in the express and e-commerce markets, fuelled by a bourgeoning middle class with higher levels of disposable income.”
Flynn continued: “Further globalisation will require expansive and time-definite air networks to facilitate the international flow of goods.
“From a regional perspective, we believe Asia is key. It is an important geography to global trade, the source of 40% of global airfreight demand, and the main contributor to the expanding global middle class.
“In addition to the demand we are seeing for our aircraft and services, we are capitalising on the quality, scale and scope of our operations to drive our revenues and earnings to greater levels.”
Flynn noted that 2018 has already seen “solid demand” from its customers for Atlas aircraft and services.
“With the essential building blocks we have set in place, we see opportunities to grow with existing customers and to add new ones,” he said.
“Globally, economic activity is expanding. The airfreight market is strong, and airfreight tonnage continues to grow from record levels.
“As a result, we expect significant growth in our volumes, revenue and adjusted EBITDA in 2018. We see volumes rising to around 300,000 block hours, revenue growing to approximately $2.5bn, and adjusted EBITDA of about $500m.”