The U.S.-based Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) has been in the forefront of the air cargo news during the past two years due to their success in their operations for Amazon’s Prime Air product. The company has now gone a step further by joining forces with Precision Aircraft Solutions to further develop the Airbus A321 P2F program.
Precision and ATSG form a joint venture
Precision Aircraft Solutions which has its main base in Beaverton, Oregon, USA, has made a name for itself as a specialist for passenger to freighter (P2F) conversions as well as engineering and aviation resourcing. The demand for converted narrow body and medium sized freighters for express and postal operators throughout the world has given Precision a notable list of customers, among others, Air China, DHL Express, ATI (part of ATSG group), SF Airlines and the China Postal Service.
They have now teamed up with ATSG in order to set up a company called ‘321 Precision Conversions LLC‘ - an enterprise which will concentrate solely on P2F conversions and marketing of Airbus A321 passenger aircraft of the older generation which are being phased out of various airline fleets. The demand for this type of freighter is especially great in the Chinese postal and express markets.
ATSG management recently stated that they expect regulatory approval for the certification of the A321-200 conversion program by 2019 so that the new 321 Precision Conversions can start to move ahead. The A321 converted freighter is expected to have an operating cost which is way below that of the existing B737 older generation freighters and also offer volume cargo space which is on par to that of the present B757 freighters on the market.
ATSG reports a strong Q2 2017
Air Transport Service Group’s revenues for the second quarter of this year have risen by over 43% to a total of just over US$253 million. Operating EBIT went up 45.2% to US$22.9 million but the company also reports a net loss of around US$54 million compared to a 2016 Q2 profit of US$11.6 million. No reason for panic they say as they make the point that the company share price has risen by 36% during Q2 and this then increased the value of the so called warrants that ATSG gave to Amazon last year. They state that when all charges are adjusted, that the net income was actually up by almost 64% to US$13.9 million.
ATSG has just delivered the 20th and final B767 freighter to Amazon through its leasing arm, Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM). All twenty of these B767Fs are owned by CAM and are on dry lease to Amazon, who in turn return them to CAM and are then operated for Amazon Prime by ATSG’s subsidiary carriers, ABX Air and Air Transport International (ATI).
John Mc Donagh