Air Transport Services Group intends to buy three extended-range 767-300 aircraft and convert them to freighters in a purchase aimed at adding new scale to its plane leasing operations.
The aircraft would join ATSG’s Cargo Aircraft Management subsidiary, the smaller of the company’s operating units but one targeted for growth in international markets.
ATSG said in announcing its earnings in the first quarter that the purchase agreement was not completed but the CAM subsidiary signed a letter of intent with an unnamed owner of the planes.
Buying and converting the planes would cost from $85.5 million to $94.5 million in total under current market prices, the Wilmington, Ohio-based company said.
The aircraft, which have larger capacity and longer range than the older 767-200 converted freighters now in the ATSG and CAM fleet, would go into service in early 2011.
“We believe that marrying 767-200 and 767-300 capabilities will further differentiate ATSG in the medium widebody segment of the industry, while allowing us to leverage ATSG’s existing infrastructure,” said ATSG CEO and President Joe Hete.
He said the airline has seen financing opportunities grow as the carrier’s own finances and profile on Wall Street has improved. ATSG’s stock price has grown from less than 80 cents last summer to more than $5.25 a share this week.
The improvement has coincided with a strong recovery in air freight demand around the world and rising aircraft lease and charter prices.