Atlas moves into 777F ownership — and expands its relationship with DHL

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW) is known primarily as an aircraft operator. Its Atlas Air subsidiary has long dominated the widebody freighter ACMI market with a fleet of 747 freighters, and over the last few years has also begun operating other carriers’ aircraft (both passenger and freighter) on a CMI basis. Atlas Air also does significant charter business for both commercial customers and the US military.


Over the last few years, AAWW has forged strong ties with DHL, operating nine 747-400 and 747-8 freighters for the German integrator through their Polar Air Cargo joint venture, and, more recently, operating 767-200Fs for DHL on a CMI basis.


Less well known is that AAWW also has a dry leasing business, operated through its Titan Aviation subsidiary. This has been a relatively small operation, with only a few narrowbody passenger and freighter aircraft leased out to airlines. But the scope of the dry leasing business looks to change with the announcement this morning that Titan has acquired one of the eight 777Fs currently operated by AeroLogic on lease from Deucalion Capital, in a deal financed by NORD/LB.


AeroLogic is a 50/50 joint venture of DHL and Lufthansa Cargo, operating out of a Leipzig hub, and the acquisition of one of its freighters by AAWW is yet another expansion of the relationship between AAWW and DHL. In discussing the acquisition, AAWW CEO William Flynn said “This deal represents an important part of our plan to grow Titan’s dry-leasing platform through selective investments in aircraft with existing leases that support leading operators in the airfreight industry.”


The big question, of course, is just how this deal “will be an important part of our plan to grow Titan’s dry-leasing platform.” Is it just an opportunistic acquisition of a single aircraft? Or is it the first step in a big 777F acquisition program that would see many more of the AeroLogic freighters sold to AAWW? Cargo Facts does not know the answer, but if we had to bet, it would be on the latter.

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