Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: AAWW), a leading global provider of outsourced aircraft and aviation operating solutions, today announced that its Atlas Air, Inc. unit has entered into a contract with Astral Aviation Limited, a Kenya-based cargo airline, to provide Boeing 747-400 Freighter service. The contract is for one aircraft under an ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance) agreement, with service expected to begin in the next few weeks. This is the first 747-400F in Astral Aviation’s global network, and it will provide all-cargo operations between Europe and Africa. Astral Aviation operates in partnership with UK-based ANA Airline Management Limited. ANA specializes in the development and operation of all-cargo aircraft across a wide range of scheduled routes as well as providing air charter capacity on a worldwide basis to the various airlines it works in partnership with. ANA was founded in 1985 and has offices throughout Europe, Africa and North America. “We are delighted to add Astral Aviation to our portfolio of ACMI customers,” said William J. Flynn, President and Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Air Worldwide. “Atlas Air has the largest and most modern fleet in our industry, with a mix of cargo and passenger aircraft, serving customers who are leaders in their markets. Astral Aviation, through its affiliation with ANA Airline Management, takes pride in providing reliable, high-quality service and looks forward to expanding its international route network. Africa’s stature in global trade is rapidly increasing, and we look ahead to welcoming both a new customer for Atlas Air and to future opportunities for strategic expansion for both companies.” Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO of Astral Aviation, said: “We are excited about the prospects for air cargo growth between Africa and Europe, as well as within Africa. The Nairobi hub generates the highest volumes of perishable exports into Europe and combined with the return loads of oil and gas equipment into West Africa, the B747-400F is the perfect freighter.”
He continued, “We are deeply committed to building a stronger presence in the cargo sector and to serving the growing demand that we see from customers in Africa and around the world. In Atlas Air, we have found a first-rate partner focused on operational excellence, security and outstanding customer service who can help us expand with the market. We look forward to a rewarding relationship that leverages each of our expertise to grow global trade.”Andrew Leslie, Chairman of ANA, said: "We are extremely excited about this expansion of our freighter managed fleet with Astral Aviation, with whom we have had a long and successful business relationship for many years, and about this opportunity to capitalize on the innovative, value-added services provided by Atlas Air." About Atlas Air Worldwide: Atlas Air Worldwide is the parent company of Atlas Air, Inc. (Atlas) and Titan Aviation Leasing (Titan), and is the majority shareholder of Polar Air Cargo Worldwide, Inc. (Polar). Atlas Air Worldwide also maintains a 49% interest in Global Supply Systems Limited (GSS). Through Atlas and Polar, Atlas Air Worldwide operates the world’s largest fleet of Boeing 747 freighter aircraft. Atlas, Titan and Polar offer a range of outsourced aircraft and aviation operating services that include ACMI service – in which customers receive an aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance on a long-term basis; CMI service, for customers that provide their own aircraft; express network and scheduled air cargo service; military cargo and passenger charters; commercial cargo and passenger charters; and dry leasing of aircraft and engines. Atlas Air Worldwide’s press releases, SEC filings and other information can be accessed through the Company’s home page, www.atlasair.com. About Astral Aviation: Astral Aviation is a growing cargo airline that has been operating in the African skies for the past 13 years, and has been rated as the leading African All Cargo Airline. Astral Aviation is located at the freighter-friendly Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in Nairobi, Kenya, and its operations include a combination of scheduled and ad hoc charter flights to over 60 destinations within its intra-African network on a dedicated fleet of regional freighter aircraft. Astral is totally committed to expanding its footprint in Africa and beyond by setting up additional hubs in West Africa in 2014 and Southern Africa in 2015, which will be integrated with its existing East African hub in Nairobi to offer a wider network to its global clientele.
More information can be obtained on www.astral-aviation.com .