Atlas has grounded four 747s since the beginning of the year and will shortly return one more to its lessor as the US-based holding adapts to a slower global freight market, Chief Executive John Dietrich said during a quarterly earnings call.
“As we talked about throughout the latter part of last year, demand has been softer. And when in that environment, it’s usually the least efficient aircraft logically that get parked first. And frankly, the demand has not been there for those aircraft, so we elected for the B747 converted freighters to be temporarily parked as we manage through the current period,” he said.
The CEO explained that the converted freighters were heavier and less efficient than the purpose-built B747-400(F)s. Also, the converted aircraft lack a nose cargo door. However, the aircraft will be available to return to service with “appropriate lead times”.
“We [also] have sold or expect to sell three non-essential aircraft in our dry lease portfolio,” Dietrich added.
Atlas has sold their 757-200F, with future plans to sell a 737 and a 777F.