Atlas Air lands El Al as new customer

747 jumbo jet flies over mountains

El Al Israel Airlines is outsourcing operation of its main freighter route between Tel Aviv and Liege, Belgium, to Atlas Air Inc. under an extended charter arrangement.

Atlas, an aviation services company headquartered in Purchase, N.Y., said Tuesday it is leasing El Al a Boeing 747-400 all-cargo aircraft, operating it with its own crew and providing maintenance and insurance (ACMI) beginning this month. 

El Al, a new customer for Atlas, is experiencing strong growth in demand across its freight network, according to the announcement. The Israeli carrier sells the space on the plane and covers expenses such as ground handling, landing fees and fuel. 

No terms of the commercial cooperation were disclosed, but ACMI deals typically run for one to three years.

El Al opted for the turnkey “wet” lease with Atlas because in the past year it ended use of Boeing 747s in its own fleet and switched to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Ran Yehezkel, a spokesman for the Israeli carrier, said in an email.

In October, El Al Cargo began offering capacity on multiparty booking platform, which enables dynamic rates and reservations.

Atlas Air is a subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (NASDAQ: AAWW), which also owns Southern Air and a straight aircraft leasing company. It is also the majority shareholder of Polar Air Cargo Worldwide.

John Dietrich succeeded longtime Atlas CEO William Flynn on Jan. 1.