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.
Upon the retirements of the four DC-8 combis, ATSG’s fleet will consist entirely of 757-200, 767-200 and 767-300 aircraft, all of which require only two crew members, and which share a common pilot type rating.“This purchase of the National 757 combi aircraft further enhances our position as the world’s largest independent provider of modern, fuel-efficient midsized cargo aircraft to customers around the world,” Hete said. “No other provider can match the flexibility we offer in midsized airlift, whether on a dry-lease, ACMI or charter basis.” ATSG noted that, as a result of its decision to acquire one of the 757 combis in 2012, it has adjusted its previously disclosed guidance for aircraft-related capital expenditures in 2012 and 2013 to approximately $170 million and $95 million, respectively. About ATSG ATSG is a leading provider of aircraft leasing and air cargo transportation and related services to domestic and foreign air carriers and other companies that outsource their air cargo lift requirements. ATSG, through its leasing and airline subsidiaries, is the world's largest owner and operator of converted Boeing 767 freighter aircraft. Through its principal subsidiaries, including three airlines with separate and distinct U.S. FAA Part 121 Air Carrier certificates, ATSG provides aircraft leasing, air cargo lift, aircraft maintenance services and airport ground services. ATSG's subsidiaries include ABX Air, Inc.; Airborne Global Solutions, Inc.; Air Transport International, Inc.; Cargo Aircraft Management, Inc.; Capital Cargo International Airlines, Inc.; and Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services, Inc. For more information, please see www.atsginc.com. Except for historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this release contain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. There are a number of important factors that could cause Air Transport Services Group's ("ATSG's") actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, the timely delivery by National Air Cargo Group to Cargo Aircraft Management (“CAM”) of the three Boeing 757-200 combi aircraft, , the timing associated with the completion of FAA certification testing for the Boeing 757-200 combi aircraft already owned by CAM, changes in market demand for our assets and services, and other factors that are contained from time to time in ATSG's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Readers should carefully review this release and should not place undue reliance on ATSG's forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements were based on information, plans and estimates as of the date of this release. ATSG undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect changes in underlying assumptions or factors, new information, future events or other changes.