Atlas carried the weight of the world; Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW) carries the freight of the world. The company leases cargo planes to customers, mainly airlines, under long-term ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance) contracts. The segment accounts for about 40%of AAWW's revenue. All told, the company maintains a fleet of more than 20 Boeing 747 freighters. AAWW also offers dry leasing (aircraft and engines only) via its Titan division. Affiliates Atlas Air and 51% owned Polar Air Cargo provide charter services to charter brokers, freight forwarders, airlines, and the US military (referred to as AMC) which accounts for nearly 30% of sales.
A major commercial charter customer is freight forwarder DHL, which owns 49% of Polar. AAWW and DHL have a long-term agreement to do business together.
Having soared past the difficulties caused by the recent economic downturn, AAWW saw its 2010 revenues increase more than 25% compared to 2009 in spite of more than a 20% increase in fuel cost per gallon during the period. The company was able to increase its overall revenue per block hour (the time from which an aircraft departs the gate to the time an aircraft arrives at a gate) by 20% in 2010. Much of the company's success can be attributed to increased commercial charter traffic out of Asia since the end of 2009.
Because AAWW primarily utilizes Boeing 747 aircraft (an exception being a Boeing757 dry leased to a customer for a fixed monthly amount), the company is able to keep costs down. AAWW realizes considerable economies of scale in terms of crew training, inventory management, maintenance, and purchasing by focusing on the 747 aircraft.
To that end, the company will update its fleet with 12 new 747-8 freighters from Boeing, with an option to purchase 14 more. The new 747-8s, scheduled to arrive in the second half of 2011, offer greater cargo capacity and better fuel economy than the 747-200 models they will replace.
After discontinuing its scheduling freight cargo runs in 2009, the company began offering CMI services where the customer provides the aircraft and the company handles crew, maintenance, and insurance in 2010.
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