West Atlantic to operate 737-400Fs for FedEx

Sweden-based West Atlantic Group, parent of West Atlantic, a European cargo airline specializing in mail and express logistics announced in March 2018 that its four forthcoming 737-800BCFS would operate “on behalf of an express logistics provider in its current EU-network,” with the last aircraft entering into service in the first quarter of 2019. Yesterday, concurrently with the release of its 2Q18 financial results, company CEO Fredrik Groth revealed, however, that West Atlantic now plans to have four 737Fs operating for FedEx within the next month – two 737-400Fs, and two 737-800BCFs.

For now, it appears the two 737-400Fs will be replaced by 737-800BCFs as they are redelivered into 2019. Groth said that, once the four 737Fs are in service for FedEx next month, the company will be in “full operation” for the Memphis-based integrator. FedEx could ultimately choose to have West Atlantic operate the 737-400Fs alongside the four -800BCFs.

West Atlantic put the first 737 NG into service for FedEx last month on the AOC of its UK-based carrier, West Atlantic (UK), and the second aircraft is not far behind. Earlier this week, GECAS took redelivery of a second 737-800BCF (32609) after it was converted to freighter configuration at Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services Co. Ltd. The aircraft was subsequently ferried to West Atlantic’s UK hub at East Midlands Airport (EMA). In addition to the 737-800BCF added in 2Q18, West Atlantic also added two 737-400 SFs to its fleet, on lease from CAM and Vx Capital Partners. The company is also planning to add another 767-300F to its fleet before the end of the year.

Returning to West Atlantic’s 1H18 results, EBITDA rose 134% to US$8.2 million on revenue that was 7.9% higher at $90 million for the six-month period ending 30 June. Net income, although improved year-over-year, was still negative with a reported loss of $3.1 million. Although demand for narrowbody 737Fs and widebody 767Fs remains robust, Groth blamed the loss on costs incurred from West Atlantic’s parked ATP fleet, start-up costs related to the group’s incoming 737-800BCFs, and increased maintenance costs.

At present, the company says it has no available capacity for its 737/767 sectors. West Atlantic’s Bae ATP fleet meanwhile, has plenty of available capacity, with at least 15 units parked. “Going forward,” Goth added, “it is our focus to find alternative homes for the excess ATPs.”

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