Atlas Air Worldwide: strong Q1 2022 results and full-year outlook

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Atlas Air Worldwide has announced first-quarter 2022 net income of $81.5 million, or $2.38 per diluted share, compared with  $89.9 million, or $3.05 per diluted share, in 2021 (which included $40.9 million, $31.9 million after tax, of CARES Act grant income).

On an adjusted basis, EBITDA totalled $202.8 million in the first quarter of 2022 compared with $181.3 million in the prior-year period. For the three months ended March 31, 2022, adjusted net income totalled $88.8 million, or $2.99 per diluted share, compared with $72.2 million, or $2.45 per diluted share, in 2021.

“We are off to an excellent start in 2022. We delivered strong earnings, despite the pandemic-related operational challenges we continue to navigate,” said Atlas Air Worldwide president and CEO John Dietrich. “I would like to thank the entire Atlas team for their ongoing commitment to deliver this great performance.”

He added: “Atlas continues to demonstrate the value of airfreight as a vital component of the global supply chain. We are seeing a sustaining shift in long-term customer demand for Atlas’ dedicated aircraft, and the speed and reliability airfreight provides. During the first quarter, our customers continued to enter and enhance long-term contracts with Atlas for dedicated freighter capacity.

“We are expanding and diversifying our customer base, and increasing flying under long-term contracts with attractive rates and guaranteed levels of flying. To meet customer demand, we are also investing in our world-class fleet by adding four new 747-8F and four new 777 freighter aircraft. All four of our new 747-8Fs have been placed with customers under long-term contracts, and we have strong interest for the new 777Fs as well.”

Dietrich concluded: “We are very well positioned for the years ahead. We have significantly strengthened our balance sheet and have a healthy cash balance. This provides us the financial flexibility to opportunistically deploy capital, including investing in our business and returning capital to shareholders.”

First-Quarter Results

Revenue grew to $1.0 billion in the first quarter of 2022 compared with $861.3 million in the prior-year quarter. Volumes in the first quarter of 2022 totalled 82,626 block hours compared with 88,523 in the first quarter of 2021.

For the three months ended March 31, 2022, our reported net income totaled $81.5 million, or $2.38 per diluted share, compared with net income of $89.9 million, or $3.05 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2021 (which included $40.9 million, $31.9 million after tax, of CARES Act grant income).

On an adjusted basis, EBITDA was $202.8 million in the first quarter this year compared with $181.3 million in the first quarter of 2021. Adjusted net income in the first quarter of 2022 totaled $88.8 million, or $2.99 per diluted share, compared with $72.2 million, or $2.45 per diluted share, in the prior-year period.

Reported earnings also included an effective income tax rate of 22.8%. On an adjusted basis, our results reflected an effective income tax rate of 22.3%.

Higher airline operations revenue primarily reflected an increase in the average rate per block hour, partially offset by a reduction in block hours. The higher average rate per block hour was primarily due to higher yields (net of fuel), including the impact of new and extended long-term contracts, as well as higher fuel prices. Block-hour volumes reflected a reduction in less profitable smaller gauge CMI service flying as well as operational disruptions due to the spike in Omicron cases globally.

Higher airline operations segment contribution in the first quarter of 2022 was primarily driven by higher yields (net of fuel), including the impact of new and extended long-term contracts. These improvements were partially offset by increased pilot costs related to our new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and higher premium pay for pilots operating in certain areas significantly impacted by COVID-19.

In Ddry leasing, segment revenue and contribution increased from the prior-year period primarily due to $5.0 million of revenue received from maintenance payments related to the scheduled return of an aircraft, which was subsequently sold during the quarter. Dry Leasing contribution also benefited from lower interest expense related to the scheduled repayment of debt.

Unallocated income and expenses, net, increased during the quarter, primarily due to $40.9 million in CARES Act grant income recognized in 2021 (which was excluded from our adjusted results).

Fleet

As previously disclosed, the airline is purchasing five of its existing 747-400Fs at the end of their leases during the course of this year, one of which was acquired in March. We expect to complete the remaining four aircraft acquisitions between May and December 2022.

Acquiring these widebody freighters underscores confidence in the demand for international airfreight capacity, particularly in express, e-Commerce and fast-growing global markets. Keeping these aircraft in our fleet ensures continuity of capacity for our customers, which will drive strong returns for Atlas in the years ahead.

2022 Outlook

For the second quarter of 2022, revenue is expected to exceed $1.1 billion from flying more than 85,000 block hours. Adjusted net income is expected to grow by a high-single-digit percentage compared with adjusted net income of $88.8 million in the first quarter of 2022.

For the full year, Atlas expects to fly more than 350,000 block hours, with revenue of approximately $4.6 billion, and adjusted EBITDA of about $1.0 billion. In addition, it anticipate adjusted net income in the second half of 2022 to improve approximately 60% compared with adjusted net income in the first half of this year.

It expects aircraft maintenance expense in 2022 to be similar to 2021, and depreciation and amortization to total about $300 million. In addition, core capital expenditures, which exclude aircraft and engine purchases, are projected to total approximately $135 to $145 million, mainly for parts and components for our fleet.