Atlas Air Q4 Profit Drops, Shares Dive

February 15, 2012

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Atlas Air reported a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday as the global cargo market sagged amid economic weakness, sending its shares down more than ten percent.

The company posted fourth-quarter profit of USD$33.5 million, compared with USD$41.6 million a year ago.

The results include expenses related to the introduction of new aircraft types, including costs incurred as a result of aircraft delivery delays.

The airline blamed part of its earnings miss on delayed deliveries for some of its new Boeing 747-8 Freighters that might have contributed to its profit had they been in the fleet.

The upgraded 747 promises to burn less fuel. The plane also boasts new wings, a new tail, state-of-the-art engines and a new cockpit. Production of the 747-8 was delayed by more than a year but the plane saw its first delivery to Cargolux in October.

Boeing now has 70 orders for the superjumbo freighter on its books. A slump in the world cargo market has put pressure on freight shippers and eroded demand for Boeing's biggest commercial cargo plane.

Atlas Air has six unfilled orders for the new Boeing freighters after receiving its first three. The company initially had 12 of the freighters on order but cancelled orders for three early-build models in September.

The company blamed lengthy delays and its concerns about the performance of the first 747-8 Freighters assembled.