Atlas Air said Thursday it will fly and maintain five Boeing 767 wide-body freighters owned by express carrier DHL Express in its North American network starting in 2012.
The company is an all-cargo airline that operates its own planes under contract to airlines. It also offers plane-only leases, charter services, flight training and other specialized aviation services. In 2010 it began offering airlines the ability to simply hire Atlas to provide crews and maintenance for their aircraft. Atlas says it expects this non-asset option to provide significant revenue and earnings growth for the company.
Atlas is the world's largest operator of B747-400 freighters. It said the DHL deal expands its area of expertise to the B767, which is expected to become part of the company's future fleet strategy.
Polar Air Cargo, another subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, has been providing B747-400 lift on the trans-Pacific route for DHL since 2008.
Atlas Air's outsourced crew, maintenance and insurance service for DHL is expected to begin with one aircraft in the first quarter of 2012 and expand to five by the third quarter.
DHL uses B767s between Canada, Mexico and the United States. It is assumed that Atlas will not fly purely domestic routes for DHL because foreign-owned airlines (DHL is a Deutsche Post company) are prohibited under aviation law from intra-U.S. carriage, but a DHL spokesperson was unable to clear up the matter by deadline.