Amazon air cargo contractor expects more growth after posting banner year during pandemic

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A Boeing 747 cargo freighter belonging to the Atlas Air flies into the clouds after lifting off from Hong Kong International Airport, on 23 October 2017, in Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

S3studio | Getty Images

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings on Thursday forecast an increase in first-quarter revenue as the Amazon air contractor continues to benefit from higher demand during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The cargo-and-charter company swung to a profit of $360 million in 2020 from a net loss the year earlier of $293 million, with revenue last year rising 17% to $3.2 billion.

Amazon increased its stake in the company last month, Atlas said.

Atlas Air shares were up more than 3% in morning trading, while the broader market was down.

While it continues to expect strong demand, the carrier said pandemic-related expenses, such as premium pilot pay, will weigh on its bottom line in the first quarter. Fraught contract negotiations with pilots have ended and the process will move to arbitration that is slated to start in mid-March. Rival ATSG, which also flies for Amazon, reached a tentative contract agreement with pilots in its ABX unit in December.

While passenger airlines have struggled as the pandemic decimated travel demand, cargo carriers have gotten a boost from e-commerce, medical supply shipments and an overall decline in air freight capacity.



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