Atlas Air posts record financial figures and forecasts more growth in 2019

posted on 20th February 2019 by Justin Burns

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW) has reported record fourth quarter (Q4) and full-year volumes, revenue and earnings in 2018 and is forecasting more growth in 2019.

Volumes in Q4 of 2018 increased 17 per cent to 83,437 block hours, with revenue growing 22 per cent to a record $765 million.

Reported income from continuing operations, net of taxes, during the period increased one per cent to $211 million, or $2.73 per diluted share, compared with $209.5 million, or $6.71 per diluted share, in Q4 of 2017.

On an adjusted basis, income from continuing operations, net of taxes, in Q4 2018 increased 31 per cent to a record $87 million, or $3.12 per diluted share, from adjusted income of $66.6 million, or $2.43 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted EBITDA increased 21 per cent over the year-ago period to $196.5 million.

For the full year, volumes in 2018 increased 17 per cent to 296,264 block hours, with revenue growing 24 per cent to a record $2.7 billion.

Reported income from continuing operations, net of taxes, for the 12 months ended 31 December 2018, increased 21 per cent to $270.6 million, or $5.22 per diluted share, which included an unrealized gain on financial instruments of $123.1 million related to outstanding warrants.

On an adjusted basis, income from continuing operations, net of taxes, in 2018 increased 53 per cent to a record $204.3 million, or $7.27 per diluted share, compared with $133.7 million, or $4.93 per diluted share, in 2017. Adjusted EBITDA in 2018 rose 26 per cent to $540.6 million.

President and chief executive officer, William J. Flynn said: “2018 was another great year for Atlas, with substantial growth in the scale, diversity and profitability of our business.

“Going forward, we are excited about Atlas’ future and the future of airfreight. We expect record Atlas volumes and earnings in 2019 driven by our multiyear initiatives, which enable us to serve a greater range of customers and provide a solid platform for future growth initiatives.

“Our focus is on express and e-commerce, and fast-growing markets in Asia and elsewhere, such as South America, where we had the strongest year in the company’s history. As airfreight tonnage continues to grow, further globalization will require time-definite air networks to facilitate the flow of goods.”

He added: “We are well-positioned to capitalize on the scale and scope of our domestic and worldwide operations, to drive record volume, revenue, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income this year, and to further reduce our net leverage ratio.

“We expect to benefit from a full-year of flying by the aircraft we added in 2018 for customers such as Asiana, DHL Express, Inditex and SF Express. We will see our first year of flying twenty 767-300s for Amazon.

“We look forward to operating three incremental 747-400 freighters for Nippon Cargo Airlines, which will increase our near-term fleet to 115 aircraft. And we anticipate that the flying we do for the military will be higher than the flying we did in 2018.

“As a result of the momentum that we see, we anticipate that our adjusted net income in 2019 will grow by a mid- to upper-single-digit percentage this year.”

Flynn continued: “These opportunities build on the growth in our business mix, customer base, fleet and operational capabilities.

“In addition to delivering record results in 2018, we added 16 aircraft to our operating fleet in response to customer demand, with more than 100 planes for the first time. We ended the year with 112 aircraft across five fleet types that are well-suited to our growing domestic and regional cargo and passenger operations, as well as our long-haul, international operations.

“We also ramped up for Amazon as scheduled, which included successfully managing multiple station openings throughout the U.S. We implemented continuous improvement initiatives and tax planning that enhanced our bottom line. We also enhanced our balance sheet by lowering our net leverage ratio.

“Thanks to our strong and experienced team, we executed our peak-season operations extremely well. Overlapping the end of peak, we also operated 32 flights during the college football bowl season for 15 universities.”