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Atlas Air

Atlas Air Boeing 747-200F
Atlas Air Boeing 747-200F
Atlas Air Boeing 747-400F in Emirates SkyCargo colours
Atlas Air Boeing 747-400F in Emirates SkyCargo colours
Atlas Air operates three Boeing 747-400F's on behalf of Qantas.<!-- fact -->
Atlas Air operates three Boeing 747-400F's on behalf of Qantas.
An Atlas Air Boeing 747-400F on final approach to Sydney Airport in 2005.

Atlas Air, Inc. is an American cargo and passenger charter airline based in Purchase, Harrison, New York.[1] It operates scheduled freight flights on a wet lease basis for some of the world's leading airlines, flying to 101 cities in 46 countries.[2] Its crew bases include: Miami International Airport, New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Anchorage International Airport, Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, and Huntsville International Airport.[3] The parent company is Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (AAWW).



The airline was founded in April 1992 by the late Pakistani American aerospace enthusiast Michael Chowdry, to specialise in the long-term contract outsourcing of its Boeing 747 aircraft. It started operations in 1993 with one Boeing 747 and contracted by China Airlines. In 1995 Atlas began trading publicly on the NASDAQ, and in 1997 appeared on the New York Stock Exchange. An initial public offering of 4 million shares was made in August 1998. In 2001 the airline introduced a new program of leasing and services, based on the Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance(ACMI) model. Under this new program, Atlas Air cargo planes would be available to other airlines for operations such as charter flights. In July 2004 Atlas Air completed its restructuring plan and emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[2] Recently, AAWWH announced that DHL has bought long term rights to carry some of its cargo on Polar's aircraft.

In March 2010 Atlas Air was awarded a nine-year contract for the operation of the Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF) 'Dreamlifter' for transporting aircraft parts to Boeing from suppliers around the world. It will commence operation in September 2010.

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. () wholly owns Atlas Air,[2] Polar Air Cargo (51%), and a share of Global Supply Systems (49%). As a result of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings' acquisition of Polar in November 2001, the Atlas and Polar fleets are staffed by the same group of pilots (as of January 1st, 2012)[4]. However, for marketing reasons the Polar brand will remain distinct. Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings is a public company with 1725 employees and 630 million USD market capitalization.[5]

The airline was named after Atlas, a Titan in Greek mythology, who carried the heavens on his shoulders. Their symbol on the plane's tail is a golden man carrying a golden world.

Passenger Service

In October 2009, Atlas Air was selected to operate an outsourced premium passenger private charter service for the U.S.-Africa Energy Association (USAEA). The Agreement to operate the charter was reached with SonAir -- Servi o A reo, S.A. (SonAir), acting as agent for the USAEA.

This new service replaced World Airways in May 2010, and Atlas operates the charter service with two newly customized Boeing 747-400 aircraft provided by SonAir's parent company. The aircraft are laid out to serve 189 passengers and consists of a 3 class configuration First.

The charter service, which has become known as the "Houston Express", includes three dedicated weekly non-stop flights between Houston and Luanda, Angola. While it is not open to the public, it provides USAEA members with a premium non-stop transportation link to support complex long-term projects in the West African energy sector.[6]The airline also charters service with a pair of 747-400's configured with 474 seats and a pair 767-300ER's as of January 2012.

Safety issues

During early 2010, an Atlas Air aircraft was involved in a safety and maintenance incident. In February, the cover of part of the flap assembly on a Boeing 747 detached from the aircraft, which was in the process of landing in Miami, Florida. On 17 May, a similar incident occurred; in this case, part of the inboard flaps on the right wing of a Boeing 747 separated from the aircraft. Due to alleged improper maintenance practices, the US Federal Aviation Administration on 5 May proposed a roughly $500,000 fine against the airline. The airline is fighting the allegations.[7]


Both Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo carry freight worldwide, including destinations throughout Europe for example Frankfurt, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Pacific, as well as Latin America. Specific destinations vary due to changing customer's needs and seasonal air cargo trends.


The Atlas Air/Polar Air Cargo fleet consists of the following aircraft as of February 2012.[8][9] the airline has mostly 747-400's but also has 2 767-300ER's. Atlas has 5 orders for the 767-200F and 6 for the 747-8F. All 747 classics have been retired as of February 19th, 2012.

Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo Combined Fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Notes
Boeing 747-400F 21 3 operated for Emirates SkyCargo
5 operated for Qantas Freight
2 operated for Panalpina
6 in Polar Air Cargo livery
(including 1 in a hybrid Polar/DHL scheme[10])
Boeing 747-400 (pax) 4 2 operated for SonAir
2 for charter w/ 474 seats
Boeing 747-400BCF 3
Boeing 747-400LCF 4 Operated for Boeing
Boeing 747-8F 6 4 Slated for delivery in 2012; 2 in 2013
Boeing 767-200F 1 4 Further deliveries pending cargo door modifications[11]
Boeing 767-300ER 2 Used for Charter Flights N641GT
Total 35 10

Orders: At list prices, the initial Boeing 747-8F for 12 aircraft was valued at about $3.4 billion. On September 21, 2011 Atlas Air announced they had cancelled 3 747-8F of the original 12 ordered.[12] Atlas will begin taking delivery of the remaining 9 airplanes in 2011 and expects all of the aircraft to be in service by the end of 2012. The first 3 747-8F aircraft will be operated by AAWH's British affiliate, "Global Supply Systems" with the remaining 6 operated by Atlas Air. "With this order, Atlas Air remains the leader in providing the capacity and operational flexibility required by our air cargo customers using the state-of-the art freighter platform," said William J. Flynn, president and CEO of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings. Atlas Air average fleet age is 18.2 years old as of December 2011.[13]

In Popular Culture

"Atlas Air" is the name of the final track on the 2010 album by British duo Massive Attack. Its lyrics deride Atlas Air's alleged involvement in human rights abuses.


External links

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Source: Wikipedia | The above article is available under the GNU FDL. | Edit this article

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