Atlas Air to transport U.S. troops
Atlas Air this month will begin operating passenger charter service for the U.S. Defense Department's Air Mobility Command using a leased Boeing 747-400, diversifying it's traditional business of providing air cargo capacity to airlines and the military, parent company Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings announced Friday.
The Defense Department recently approved Atlas' application to provide airlift for military personnel. The U.S. military contracts with U.S. passenger and cargo airlines to move personnel and supplies to bases and theaters of operation around the world.
Atlas has been a longstanding participant in the Civil Reserve Air Fleet and contractor to AMC for air cargo service.
The airline first began outsourced charter commercial passenger operations last June. It's SonAir service flies three dedicated weekly flights between Houston and Angola to serve oil industry executives working on projects in West Africa. SonAir is a subsidiary of the National Petroleum Co. of Angola.
'We expect modest levels of military passenger flying in 2011, which will increase in 2012. We anticipate a moderate earnings impact this year considering the hours of activity and the startup costs we have incurred since January,' said William J. Flynn, the company's president and chief executive officer, in a statement. 'Each hour we fly is an hour of growth for us and is part of our strategy to mitigate any reduction in AMC cargo demand.'
Flynn said there is ample opportunity for growth because 95 percent of U.S. troops move via commercial aircraft.