ATLAS REPORTS HIGHER EARNINGS, ADDITIONAL PLANES
Atlas Air, the airline that flies freighters for other airlines, said net income rose 64 percent to a record $23.1 million for the third quarter, and announced plans to acquire additional aircraft.
Revenue for Atlas, which provides aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance, increased 29 percent to $208.6 million. Operating income was $62.0 million, up 30 percent, also the highest in the airline's history.
“We recorded the highest operating profit in our history, and net income for the period was exceeded only by last year's fourth quarter results,” said Richard H. Shuyler, executive vice president for Atlas Air. “Total block hours for the quarter increased 27 percent, despite on a 10-percent increase in fleet size. Put another way, average aircraft utilization rose by 15 percent, as our customers continued to fly at higher and higher levels.”
While other airlines are bowed by rising fuel costs, Atlas Air is insulated from these costs, which are paid by the chartering company. Atlas' total unit costs declined by 3 percent.
The airline projects continued success through the peak cargo season.”'With air shipment backlogs already being experienced in countries such as Korea, and Hong Kong predicting a record cargo year, the outlook for Asian cargo, in particular, remains very positive,” Shuyler said.
In the third quarter Atlas entered into a contract with China Eastern Airlines Ltd., China's second-largest airline, and retired about $100 million of long-term debt with the proceeds of a 3.5-million share public equity offering.
Michael A. Chowdry, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Atlas, said the airline has exercised options for the delivery of our new 747-400s from Boeing in 2002. The airline already has three 747-400s to be delivered in the fourth quarter, expanding its fleet to 37 747s. Atlas said it has secured customers for those aircraft.
The airline also plans to negotiate the purchase of several used 747-200s to add to its fleet over the next year.
“We have successfully added both new aircraft and new customers to our operations and have done so while increasing our profitability,” Chowdry said. With the recent addition of our newest customer, China Eastern, we have the top four airlines serving that country as Atlas Air customers. Chinese exports were up by 38 percent during the first half of the year, reinforcing our view of the huge air cargo potential represented by China.”
For the first nine months of 2000, net income increased 44 percent to $54.1 million, before one-time extraordinary charges for the year-earlier period. Revenue rose 9 percent, to $566.8 million, while operating income rose 30 percent to $163.5 million.