Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings saw its net profit fall more than two-thirds in the first quarter amid rising costs and falling military charter revenue, but the freight airline said Tuesday it still expects strong earnings growth through the rest of the year.
“We expect earnings in 2011 and beyond to continue to benefit from our premium assets, the global scale and scope of our customer offerings and from the commercial and operating transformations that we are implementing,” said William J. Flynn, the carrier’s president and CEO.
The $10.5 million net profit in the first three months of the year compared to a strong first quarter a year ago, when a surge in military charters supporting operations in Afghanistan helped push Atlas’ profit beyond $33.6 million.
Military charter revenue fell 33 percent in this year’s first quarter, to $81.2 million, while revenue at Atlas Air’s core commercial aircraft leasing business grew 30 percent, leaving overall revenue almost flat at $297.6 million.
The carrier said maintenance and other costs grew ahead of last year’s spending as the company brought in newer converted freighter aircraft. Atlas expects to bring in growing international cargo business.
“Air freight volumes continue to grow from record levels in 2010, and market demand for our high-payload, fuel-efficient 747-400 aircraft remains strong,” Flynn said.