Freighter lessor ATSG upbeat on 2015 results

US-based freighter lessor Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) said that its financial results for 2015 are “likely to exceed management’s earlier guidance” due primarily to better-than-expected results from its airline operations in the fourth quarter.
ATSG now projects that its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) will likely be in a range of $196m-$200m for 2015.
That compares with adjusted EBITDA guidance first provided last November of $190m-$195m for 2015 and a 2014 year end figure of $179.5m.
The changed outlook for 2015 reflects increased demand, primarily for ATSG’s 767 freighters on a contracted aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) basis.
Results from the ACMI Services segment were greater than projected in the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter also benefited from more 767 freighters that were dry-leased to external customers at year-end: three more compared with the start of the quarter, and six more than at the end of 2014.
ATSG president and chief executive Joe Hete said: “We faced extraordinary challenges in 2015 to quickly place and operate our 767 freighters over new routes and in concert with new ground services, while continuing to provide great service to all of our other customers.
“Those achievements lend even greater support to our conviction that we are the only source of dedicated midsize freighters and logistical support services, and no one can match our deployment speed, scale or service quality.”
Hete also said that the trial ACMI express network that its airlines launched in September for an ─ unnamed ─ US customer “performed well through the holiday season,” and continues to operate.
Earlier industry reports suggested that internet retail giant Amazon was the customer concerned, although this has not been confirmed.
ATSG added: “The network grew to five aircraft in ACMI service, together with related logistics services. ATSG is seeking to extend its provision of network services for this customer.”
ATSG currently expects to issue final audited results for 2015 in early March. 

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