Atlas Air Triples Profit on Soaring Cargo Charters

Atlas Air Triples Profit on Soaring Cargo Charters

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings more than tripled its net profit to $32.8 million in the second quarter on strong demand for chartered aircraft in the resurgent global air cargo market, the freighter operator said Tuesday.

Commercial charter revenue jumped from $35.6 million last year to $114.8 million in the three months ending June 30, as shippers and air forwarders scrambled for capacity to move goods to recovering markets.

Military charter revenue, a savior for Atlas during the downturn, also grew 40 percent, helping push the carrier’s overall revenue up 48 percent to $356.2 million.

By The Numbers: International Air Freight Industry.

Atlas, which recently struck a deal to place three new 747-8 freighters with British Airways, said it is gaining from a market in which shippers are pressed to move goods more rapidly in the recovery from 2009’s global trade downturn.

Air freight traffic has risen above pre-recession levels, said William J. Flynn, AAWH president and CEO, and “tight supply in the widebody, long-haul heavy freighter space has also contributed to a significant improvement in rates.”

Charter rates looked especially strong: The operating profit contribution from commercial charter operations grew from $61,000 in the second quarter a year ago to $38.5 million this year.

The core long-term lease ACMI (for the aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance costs that Atlas assumes) unit showed only slight growth in revenue, to $126.8 million, but what Atlas calls the direct contribution nearly doubled to $30.9 million.