Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATSG) said today that its aircraft leasing subsidiary has reached agreement with National Air Cargo Group, Inc., for the purchase of three Boeing 757-200 aircraft that have been modified for combi (combined passenger and main-deck cargo) service.
ATSG said it anticipates that its subsidiary, Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM), will take delivery of one of the three 757 combi aircraft in December 2012, and the other two in early 2013.
Joe Hete, President and CEO of ATSG, said, “The purchase of these three 757 combis from National, plus the one 757 combi we already own, will complete our commitment to replace our four McDonnell-Douglas DC-8 combis with more modern fuel-efficient aircraft that better meet the requirements of our principal combi customer, the U.S. Military’s United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM). We look forward to providing USTRANSCOM with the improved operating performance and lower costs of the 757, as well as its greater passenger capacity. We are proud to be USTRANSCOM’s sole combi operator, serving primarily remote installations around the world that rely on the combi’s unique cargo and passenger transport capabilities.”
The 757 combis have a 34 percent lower fuel burn, ten more passenger seats and the same number of cargo pallet positions as the DC-8 combis they will replace. The combis will be owned by CAM and leased to and operated by ATSG’s airline subsidiary Air Transport International (ATI), under ATI’s contract with USTRANSCOM. Along with the three aircraft, CAM is also purchasing a spare 757-200 engine and some ancillary aircraft equipment from National.
As part of its fleet modernization program, prior to ATI’s latest combi contract award from USTRANSCOM that took effect in October 2012, CAM purchased a Boeing 757-200 for combi conversion. That aircraft is undergoing certification testing for the Federal Aviation Administration, and is due to complete that process and begin USTRANSCOM service early next year. All three of the National combis were designed and modified to meet or exceed the same FAA and USTRANSCOM requirements, including ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards) certification essential for service to USTRANSCOM’s combi destinations.