Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. has announced its subsidiary Atlas Air, Inc. has entered into a long-term agreement with FedEx to provide two 747-400 freighter aircraft on a full-time aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) basis. This new agreement is in addition to the company’s existing multi-year peak season contract that provides FedEx with a minimum of five aircraft during the fourth quarter.
Both 747-400 freighters have entered service and are flying on behalf of FedEx to support their growing express and e-commerce network.
“We are pleased to grow our long-term relationship with FedEx. This agreement reflects the continued strong demand for airfreight capacity, particularly in the express and e-commerce markets,” said John W. Dietrich, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atlas Air Worldwide. “Atlas is a leader in supporting express networks, with a focus on operating the most modern, fuel-efficient aircraft to deliver high levels of on-time performance for our customers.”
Atlas Air, Inc., a subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc., announced it has entered into contract extensions with DHL Express to continue operating 20 freighter aircraft in support of their fast-growing express and e-commerce markets.
These agreements build on the long-standing strategic partnership between Atlas Air Worldwide and DHL, which began in 2008 and included DHL acquiring 49% of AAWW’s subsidiary, Polar Air Cargo, as well as a long-term agreement for six dedicated 747-400Fs to operate on key Trans-Pacific routes.
The partnership has grown significantly over the years, and under these extended agreements, Atlas Air will continue to operate four different aircraft platforms for DHL Express, including:
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. has announced that its Atlas Air, Inc. subsidiary has completed a new joint collective bargaining agreement (JCBA) for its Atlas Air and Southern Air pilots, who are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT).
The five-year JCBA is one of the last major steps in completing Atlas Air’s merger with Southern Air, which it acquired in 2016.
The JCBA was achieved through a contractual merger process, which included negotiations followed by binding arbitration to resolve remaining open items. Under this new long-term agreement, Atlas Air and Southern Air pilots will receive higher pay and enhanced benefits as part of the overall competitive package.
Pay increases will be effective in October, with the remaining terms and conditions to be implemented in the coming months in collaboration with the union. Once the new terms, conditions and timing of implementation are fully assessed, the company will provide an updated outlook.
The Civil Reserve Air Fleet is an important aspect of the United States’s mobility resources.
Selected long-range aircraft from U.S. airlines, are contractually committed to the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF).
The selected aircraft support the United States Department of Defense (DOD) airlift requirements during emergencies when the need for airlift exceeds the capability of military aircraft.
The DOD issued this statement:
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has ordered the Commander of U.S. Transportation Command to activate Stage I of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF). CRAF activation provides the Department of Defense access to commercial air mobility resources to augment our support to the Department of State in the evacuation of U.S. citizens and personnel, Special Immigrant Visa applicants, and other at-risk individuals from Afghanistan.
The current activation is for 18 aircraft: three each from American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines and Omni Air; two from Hawaiian Airlines; and four from United Airlines. The Department does not anticipate a major impact to commercial flights from this activation.
CRAF activated aircraft will not fly into Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. They will be used for the onward movement of passengers from temporary safe havens and interim staging bases. Activating CRAF increases passenger movement beyond organic capability and allows military aircraft to focus on operations in and out of in Kabul.
CRAF is a National Emergency Preparedness Program designed to augment the Department’s airlift capability and is a core component of USTRANSCOM’s ability to meet national security interests and contingency requirements. Under CRAF, the commercial carriers retain their Civil Status under FAA regulations while USTRANSCOM exercises mission control via its air component, Air Mobility Command.
This is the third CRAF activation in the history of the program. The first occurred in support of Operations Desert Shield/Storm (Aug. 1990 to May 1991), and the second was for Operation Iraqi Freedom (Feb. 2002 to June 2003).
The DOD’s ability to project military forces is inextricably linked to commercial industry, which provides critical transportation capacity as well as global networks to meet day-to-day and contingency requirements. Utilizing commercial partners expands USTRANSCOM’s global reach as well as access to valuable commercial intermodal transportation systems.
The Secretary greatly appreciates the support of our industry partners in this critical mission.
American Airlines commented on the assignment:
The U.S. Department of Defense notified American Airlines that it has activated Stage 1 of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF). Starting Monday, American will be ready to deploy three wide body aircraft to military bases and other secure transit points on the Arabian Peninsula and in Europe to assist with the emergency evacuation of U.S. citizens and refugees coming from Kabul, Afghanistan.
American is part of the CRAF program and is proud to fulfill its duty to help the U.S. military scale this humanitarian and diplomatic rescue mission. The images from Afghanistan are heartbreaking. The airline is proud and grateful of our pilots and flight attendants, who will be operating these trips to be a part of this life-saving effort.
American will work to minimize the impact to customers as the airline temporarily removes these aircraft from our operation. The airline appreciates customers’ patience and understanding as it works to accommodate flights.
Delta Air Lines issued this statement:
The US Department of Defense (DoD) activated Stage I of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, calling for Delta and other carriers to support the military’s effort to carry people who have left Afghanistan.
Sunday morning, the US Department of Defense (DoD) activated Stage I of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF), calling for Delta and other carriers to support the military’s effort to carry people who have left Afghanistan.
Delta has been in contact with the DoD for several days leading up to the call for CRAF and is scheduled to have multiple relief flights arriving back in the United States beginning Monday morning. The airline will operate using available spare aircraft, meaning Delta’s commercial operations are not currently impacted.
“For decades, Delta has actively played a role in supporting the US Military and our troops,” said John Laughter, Delta EVP and Chief of Operations. “And we are again proud to pledge Delta people and our aircraft in support our country’s relief efforts.”
Delta will not fly directly into Afghanistan but instead stage aircraft at various military bases and provide onward flights for passengers.
Delta routinely provides transport for US troops moving between the US and international locations through its Charter Operations group.
The airline was last tapped to provide significant military support via CRAF in 2002 in the ramp-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Atlas Air issued this statement:
The Department of Defense has activated the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) to call upon Atlas Air and other U.S. airlines to support the evacuation of U.S. citizens and refugees from Afghanistan.
We will be flying passenger aircraft to carry the evacuees safely to the U.S. and will be standing by should additional capacity be needed.
As the largest supplier of airlift to the U.S. military, we are proud to provide this essential passenger service in the region at this critical time.
Atlas is a company that cares for the world we carry, and our team feels a tremendous sense of responsibility in serving the needs of the U.S. military and our nation.
Atlas Air pilots and the company’s management head into the final showdown on March 17 of a five-year battle for a new collective bargaining agreement. For the next two weeks, an arbitrator will listen to contract proposals from the pilots and management and then impose a contract that will decide the long-term future of the airline.
The pilots will present their case for a contract that is close to industry standards, while the company is expected to propose a contract that keeps pilot wages and benefits far below other cargo carriers. Industry insiders say that no matter what the arbitrator decides, the final outcome may have a negative long-term impact on the airline and its pilots.
“Atlas Air’s leadership team has squandered the past few years of growth, created discord with a key employee group, and has now surrendered its future to a third-party arbitrator.” said Robert Kirchner, head of the International Aviation Professionals (IAP), Teamsters Local 2750, the union that represents the pilots.
“This is a clear abdication of leadership,” said Kirchner. “We may now know the reason they provided no insights about the company’s future during the recent quarterly reporting to shareholders. They are no longer making decisions on key issues. Every stakeholder should be concerned that management is wiping their hands of responsibility.”
According to people sitting at the bargaining table, Atlas Air managers are likely to claim again that they don’t have the money to compensate their pilots adequately and that they will go bankrupt if they have to the pay wages and benefits that are comparable to what most of the industry pays. At the same time, these same Atlas executives have been making millions selling off Atlas stock that was part of their compensation packages.
“For the past five years, the company has delayed and gone to court to avoid negotiating seriously,” said Kirchner. “Atlas managers have refused to schedule more than four days per month for contract negotiations and then they have only showed up for a few hours and were disinterested and unprepared to negotiate. All the while we have consistently offered to negotiate around the clock, any time and any place.”
“Atlas leadership has built up such frustration and anger in their most important employee group that morale is at an all-time low and attrition is extremely high, which costs Atlas millions in recruitment, training and missed flight opportunities. If we keep going in the same direction, Atlas will remain the training academy for UPS, FedEx and the rest of the airline industry,” said Kirchner. “No matter the outcome of arbitration, Atlas Air management has created a no-win situation for investors and the future of the airline. If the arbitration goes in the company’s favor, workforce discontent will soar.” said Kirchner. “You can’t grow an airline with high turnover and low morale of pilots.”
“Atlas continues to wage a battle with the people who fly planes, generate profits and make oversized executive compensation packages possible,” said Kirchner. “For five years, Atlas executives have squandered opportunities to reach a reasonable agreement through direct, good-faith negotiations and are now turning to arbitration to take responsibility for leadership out of the hands of the team that’s paid to lead.”
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. announced today it has ordered four new Boeing 747-8 freighters in a transaction that furthers the company’s strategic growth plan. The aircraft will enable the company to meet strong customer demand in the airfreight market, particularly the fast-growing e-commerce and express sectors.
The company’s business model provides the flexibility to operate these new aircraft for customers or take advantage of dry-leasing opportunities through its Titan Aviation Leasing subsidiary.
The Boeing 747-8 freighter is the most capable, technologically advanced and environmentally conscious widebody freighter. The 747-8F provides 20% higher payload capacity and 16% lower fuel consumption than the very capable 747-400F, and has 25% higher capacity than the new-technology 777-200LRF. It is also the only factory-built freighter with nose-loading capability in production, which will serve the long-term needs of the airfreight market. Atlas is the world’s largest operator of Boeing 747 freighter aircraft, with a total of 53 in its current fleet, including 10 747-8Fs, 34 747-400Fs, five passenger 747-400s, and four Large Cargo Freighters (LCFs).
Atlas’ investment in these new aircraft underscores its ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship through the reduction of noise, aircraft emissions and resource consumption. The 747-8F meets or exceeds the strictest International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) emissions standards and meets global noise regulations with unlimited deployment. The advanced engines on the 747-8F reduce noise by approximately 30% compared to the previous generation of aircraft.
The new 747-8F order will also provide the company with enhanced flexibility to balance future capacity needs with customer demand, as a number of its legacy 747-400F aircraft leases will be up for renewal over the next several years.
The 747-8Fs are expected to be delivered from May through October 2022. These aircraft are the last four 747-8Fs that Boeing plans to produce.
Atlas Air has 53 747s in its current fleet, making it the largest 747 operator in the world.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined during a public board meeting held Tuesday that Atlas Air flight 3591 crashed in Trinity Bay, Texas, because of the first officer’s inappropriate response to an inadvertent activation of the airplane’s go-around mode, resulting in his spatial disorientation that led him to place the airplane in a steep descent from which the crew did not recover.
The accident happened Feb. 23, 2019, when the Atlas Air Boeing 767 cargo jet entered a rapid descent from about 6,000 feet and impacted a marshy bay about 40 miles from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The captain, first officer and a non-revenue, jumpseat pilot, died in the crash. The airplane – which was carrying cargo from Miami to Houston for Amazon.com Services LLC., and the US Postal Service – was destroyed. The first officer was the pilot flying the airplane at the time of the accident.
The NTSB also determined the captain’s failure to adequately monitor the airplane’s flightpath and to assume positive control of the airplane to effectively intervene contributed to the crash. Also cited as a contributing factor is the aviation industry’s selection and performance measurement practices that failed to address the first officer’s aptitude related deficiencies and maladaptive stress response.
The NTSB concluded the first officer likely experienced a pitch-up somatogravic illusion – a specific kind of spatial disorientation in which forward acceleration is misinterpreted as the airplane pitching up – as the airplane accelerated due to the inadvertent activation of the go-around mode, which prompted the first officer to push forward on the elevator control column. The first officer subsequently believed the airplane was stalling and continued to push the control column forward, exacerbating the airplane’s dive. However, no cues consistent with an aerodynamic stall —such as stick shaker activation, stall warning annunciations, nose-high pitch indications or low airspeed indications—were present. Additionally, the NTSB’s airplane performance study found the airplane’s airspeed and angle of attack were not consistent with having been at or near a nose-high stalled condition. The first officer’s response was contrary to standard procedures and training for responding to a stall. Graphic depicting of the descent of Atlas Air flight 3591 before final impact on Feb. 23, 2019. (Graphic depicting of the descent of Atlas Air flight 3591 before final impact on Feb. 23, 2019. NTSB Graphic)
The NTSB concluded that while the captain, as the pilot monitoring, was setting up the approach to Houston and communicating with air traffic control, his attention was diverted from monitoring the airplane’s state and verifying that the flight was proceeding as planned. This delayed his recognition of, and his response to, the first officer’s unexpected actions that placed the plane in a dive. Investigators also concluded the captain’s failure to command a positive transfer of control of the airplane as soon as he attempted to intervene on the controls enabled the first officer to continue to force the airplane into a steepening dive.
While the first officer took deliberate actions to conceal his history of performance deficiencies, Atlas’ reliance on designated agents to review pilot background records and to flag significant concerns was inappropriate and resulted in the company’s failure to evaluate the first officer’s unsuccessful attempt to upgrade to captain at his previous employer. Additionally, the NTSB found that had the FAA met the deadline and complied with the requirements for implementing the pilot records database as stated in Section 203 of the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010, the pilot records database would have provided hiring employers relevant information about the first officer’s employment history and long history of training performance deficiencies.
“The first officer in this accident deliberately concealed his history of performance deficiencies, which limited Atlas Air’s ability to fully evaluate his aptitude and competency as a pilot,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. “Therefore, today we are recommending that the pilot records database include all background information necessary for a complete evaluation of a pilot’s competency and proficiency.”
An abstract of the final report, which includes the findings, probable cause, and all safety recommendations, is available at https://go.usa.gov/xfbcb. Links to the accident docket and other publicly released information about this investigation are available at https://go.usa.gov/xfTNs.
The final report for the investigation of the accident is expected to post to the NTSB website in the next few weeks.
Large wide body airliners (like the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747) have been hard to fill for airlines since the COVID-19 pandemic exploded around the world this spring. Many airlines have parked their Jumbos and some have moved up the planned retirement dates of the Boeing 747-400.
If you want to fly on the passenger type you better hurry. Other than governments and cargo operators, finding a passenger Boeing 747-400 flight is a challenge right now.
Some aircraft in storage will probably become active again when the passenger demand dictates the use of large wide body aircraft again. If the demand does not come back quickly it will probably mean the end of those aircraft in storage.
Above Photos: Boeing.
Below is the current situation based on the latest information for passenger airlines (corrections and additions are always welcome) (subject to change depending on returning traffic):
Air Atlanta Icelandic – The charter and ACMI specialist airline has five passenger 747-400s. Three are currently stored and two are operating on ACMI assignments.
Above Copyright Photo: Air Atlanta Icelandic Boeing 747-412 TF-AMI (msn 27066) LGW (Antony J. Best). Image: 928104.
Air China – Two 747-400s are operational (B-2445 and B-2447) but they stay mostly in China these days. Another aircraft (B-2472) is operated for the government. Air China also continues to operate the newer 747-800.
Above Copyright Photo: Air China Boeing 747-4J6 B-2445 (msn 25882) JFK (Ken Petersen). Image: 902765.
Asiana Airlines – Only one 747-400 passenger aircraft (HL7428) is active these days so the type is probably ready to be retired this year.
Above Copyright Photo: Asiana Airlines Boeing 747-48E HL7428 (msn 28552) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 910887.
Atlas Air – The charter and ACMI specialist airline currently has three active passenger 747-400s (N464MC, N465MC and N480MC). Assuming charter demand continues this airline could be one of the last passenger operators.
Above Copyright Photo: Atlas Air Boeing 747-446 N465MC (msn 24784) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 921869.
British Airways – The former largest 747-400 passenger operator has stored all 28 aircraft pending a return of passenger demand. For now, G-CIVO operated the last revenue flight (BA9116 LOS-LHR) on May 11, 2020.
Above Copyright Photo: British Airways Boeing 747-436 (Tails) LHR (Dave Glendinning). Image: 908409.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines – As previously reported, PH-BFT operated the last regular revenue flight (KL686 MEX-AMS) on March 29, 2020. However the Jumbo was brought out of retirement to operate special medical cargo flights (along with PH-BFV and PH-BFW) during the pandemic. All 3 are expected to be re-retired again this year.
Above Copyright Photo: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747-406 PH-BFT (msn 28459) (100 Years) AMS (Ton Jochems). Image: 949485.
Lufthansa – The company was originally planning to retire the 747-400 fleet in 2025. That all changed with the pandemic. All 8 that remain operational are now in storage pending a return of passenger demand. D-ABVX operated the last 747-400 passenger revenue flight (LH637 RUH-FRA) on May 8, 2020.
Air India – Four 747-400s are parked and not likely to return. VT-ESO operated the last revenue flight (AI966 HYD-BOM) on March 15, 2020.
China Airlines – Four passenger 747-400s are in storage and are not likely to return. B-18215 operated the last revenue flight (CI916 HKG-TPE) on March 15, 2020.
Corsair International – The French carrier parked its three passenger Boeing 747-400s in March and they are not likely to return. F-GTUI operated the last revenue flight (S5 927 PTP-ORY) on March 26, 2020,
El Al Israel Airlines – 4X-ELC operated the last passenger 747-400 revenue flight (LY1747 FCO-TLV) on November 3, 2019.
Iraqi Airways – The last passenger Boeing 747-400 (YI-ASA) operated the last revenue flight (IA3114, MED-BGW) on February 2, 2020.
Korean Air – HL7402 operated the last 747-400 passenger revenue flight (KE630 DPS-ICN) on February 29, 2020. Korean Air continues to operate the newer 747-800.
Mahan Air – The Iranian airline was recently again operating EP-MNB (February 2020) but it appears to be no longer flying, probably due to the embargo.
QANTAS Airways – The flag carrier decided to early retire the type due to a much lower demand. VH-OEE operated the last revenue flight (QF28 SCL-SYD) on March 29, 2020.
Thai Airways International – The flag carrier is in reorganization and is cutting costs and reducing aircraft types. HS-TGA operated the last 747-400 revenue flight (TG476 SYD-BKK) on March 26, 2020.
Virgin Atlantic Airways – G-VROS operated the last revenue flight (VS608 LAX-LHR) on March 31, 2020.
Poll. Who do you think will be the last Boeing 747-400 passenger airline operator?
Prime Air Boeing 767-36N ER (F) N1049A (msn 30109), operated by Atlas Air, is now promoting Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series on Prime Video with a special livery.
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, or simply Jack Ryan, is an American political thriller spy web televisionseries, based on characters from the fictional “Ryanverse” created by Tom Clancy, that premiered on August 31, 2018 on Prime Video. The series was created by Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland. Cuse serves as an executive producer alongside John Krasinski, Michael Bay, and Mace Neufeld, among others. Krasinski also stars in the series as the title character, making him the fifth actor to portray the character after Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine from the film series.
In April 2018, Amazon renewed the series for its second season which premiered on October 31, 2019. In February 2019, Amazon renewed the series for a third season.
N1049A is pictured arriving at Ontario, CA.
Copyright Photo: Prime Air (Atlas Air) Boeing 767-36N ER (F) N1049A (msn 30109) (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan) ONT (Michael B. Ing). Image: 948661.
QANTAS Freight has welcomed a new addition to its fleet with the first of two Boeing 747-8F freighter aircraft touching down in Sydney today.
The next generation freighters will be operated by Atlas Air, on behalf of QANTAS. Each aircraft offers 20 percent more freight capacity and space for seven extra cargo pallets compared to the 747-400F.
The two freighters will operate between Australia, China and the USA with additional routes currently being explored. The second 747-8F aircraft will enter service later this week.
While the aircraft will be painted in Atlas Air livery, the QANTAS Freight logo will be displayed on either side of the nose and underneath the freighters’ nose cargo door.
The 747-8’s iconic nose door allows easier loading of oversized cargo and helps achieve faster turnaround times.
The arrival of the new aircraft follows QANTAS Freight’s announced of a new seven-year agreement with Australia Post to enhance the domestic network. The new agreement, worth more than $1 billion, also paves the way for up to three A321 passenger to freighter aircraft join the fleet from October 2020.