Record 2021 results for Atlas Air Worldwide

By Roger Hailey

Photo: Atlas Air

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings saw record results in 2021 with increased revenue and income, while also placing all of its incoming B747-8Fs under long-term agreements.

The US-based freighter lessor expects a “strong performance” in the first quarter of 2022, helped by new or enhanced long-term customer contracts.

Atlas saw 2021 revenues of $4.0bn, up from $3.2bn in 2020, and net income of $493.3m, compared with $360.3m in the prior year.

“2021 was another outstanding year with excellent financial and operating performance,” said Atlas Air Worldwide president and chief executive John Dietrich.

He added: “We are also very pleased to have achieved a long-term labour agreement with our pilots that recognises their significant contributions to Atlas. With the strength, flexibility and resiliency of our global business model, our experienced and dedicated team delivered high-quality service to our customers in an operating environment with persistent pandemic-related obstacles.

“We are leveraging our world-class fleet and global operating capabilities to increase aircraft utilisation and capitalise on strong demand for our services and dedicated freighters, as well as on higher airfreight yields.”

Dietrich continued: “We have now placed our new 747-8Fs under long-term agreements, enhanced numerous long-term contracts with strategic customers and further diversified our customer base.”

Atlas expects delivery of the B747-8Fs between May and October this year

Dietrich added: “In 2021, we deepened relationships with valued customers, including Cainiao, CEVA Logistics, DB Schenker, DHL, DSV, FedEx, Flexport, Geodis, HP Inc., Icelandair, JAS, Kuehne+Nagel, SF Group and UPS.”

Citing a “disciplined and balanced approach” to capital allocation Dietrich said that Atlas had strengthened its balance sheet, made significant fleet investments, including B747-8Fs and B777 freighter aircraft.

Dietrich added: “We expect strong performance in the first quarter of 2022, with adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income similar to the first quarter of 2021. We also anticipate revenue of about $1.0bn from flying approximately 85,000 block hours.”

“This outlook reflects higher yields, including the contribution from numerous new or enhanced long-term customer contracts, as well as higher pilot costs from our new joint collective bargaining agreement that went into effect in September 2021.

“Due to the uncertainty related to the pandemic, ongoing supply chain disruptions and other factors, we are not providing additional guidance at this time.”

Atlas expects very strong demand for its four new B777-200LRFs, with one to be delivered late in the fourth quarter of 2022 and three more throughout 2023.

Atlas purchased six of its existing 747-400Fs, formerly on lease to it, during 2021. It is also purchasing another five B747-400Fs at the end of their leases during the course of this year, which range from February to December.

Dietrich said: “Acquiring these widebody freighters underscores our confidence in the demand for dedicated international airfreight capacity, particularly in express, e-commerce and fast-growing global markets.

“These investments are consistent with our long-term strategic growth plan and will provide customers with modern and environmentally-efficient aircraft, which will drive strong returns for Atlas in the years ahead.”

Earlier this month, Atlas Air announced it will operate two new Boeing 747-8 freighters on a global basis for freight forwarder Kuehne+Nagel (K+N) in a long-term, dedicated charter agreement.

Atlas Air recently expanded its charter partnership with freight forwarder Flexport to add a third Boeing 747-400 freighter from September. It has also recently extended a long-term aircraft transportation services agreement to operate a Boeing 747-400 freighter for SF Group between China and the US.

Atlas Air strikes charter agreement with Kuehne+Nagel

Atlas Air and Flexport expand partnership

Atlas Air extends agreement with SF Group

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