Atlas Air benefits from impressive March

Atlas Air is on track to meet its 2012 expectations after a significant activity rebound in March that made up for a sluggish January and February. According to a company press release, Atlas customers flew 11 percent over minimum block hours in March. The strong first-quarter numbers are also due to a new timeline for aircraft engine maintenance; upkeep that was expected to take place during the first quarter will now happen in the next three months.

Atlas Air reported an adjusted net income of $13.6 million during the first quarter and a reported net income of $12.8 million. Operating revenues during the quarter rose 21 percent, year-over-year, and total block hours increased by 8 percent. ACMI revenues rose by $8.7 million, year-over-year, on the back of two new services for DHL Express. Atlas Air also recently signed a multiyear ACMI deal with Etihad Airways for one Boeing 747-400 freighter, which will commence in June. This will be the first 747-400F in Etihad Cargo’s fleet.

Operating expenses rose 20 percent, year-over-year, because of fuel and an uptick in labor costs. Jetfuel prices rose 28 percent when compared to the same period in 2011. A wage increase, a ramp up in total block-hours flown and a few new hires pumped employee costs up 15 percent, year-over-year.

“Earnings in the first quarter of 2012 were well above our expectations,” William Flynn, the firm’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “The improvement was primarily due to a substantial pickup in the commercial airfreight market during March 2012. Volumes and rates improved dramatically compared with January and February, and we were well-positioned to help customers respond to an increase in demand for airfreight capacity.” He added that this increase was fueled by high-tech project launches out of Asia and a demand for time-sensitive shipments of auto parts and pharmaceuticals.

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