Atlas Air
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded1992; 32 years ago (1992)
AOC #UIEA784U[1]
Fleet size110
Parent companyAtlas Air Worldwide Holdings
HeadquartersPurchase, New York, U.S.
Key people
  • Michael T. Steen (President & CEO)
  • David N. Siegel (Chairman of the Board)

Atlas Air, Inc. is a major American cargo airline, passenger charter airline, and aircraft lessor based in Purchase, New York. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings. Atlas Air is the world's largest operator of the Boeing 747 aircraft, with a total fleet of 54 of this specific fleet type. In 2021, the airline had 4,056 employees and operated to more than 300 global destinations.[2]


An Atlas Air Boeing 747-400F departing Hong Kong.
Boeing 747-8F N863GT, the last 747 ever built, on the taxiway at Schiphol Airport
An Atlas Air Boeing 747-8F lines up on Runway 27 at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport as one of the airline's 747-400Fs lands on Runway 18C.

In 1992, Atlas Air began operations when the airline's founder, Michael Chowdry, started leasing aircraft to airlines.[3]

In 1993, China Airlines, the first customer, initiated operations with Atlas Air with one airplane on an aircraft and crew, maintenance, and insurance (CMI) agreement.[4] By 1995, Atlas Air began trading publicly.[4] In 1997, Atlas placed an order for 10 new Boeing 747-400F aircraft with another two orders for 747-400Fs placed in 1998.[4]

On January 30, 2004, Atlas Air Worldwide entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In July 2004, the parent company completed its restructuring plan and emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[5]

In 2006, Amnesty International released a report on extraordinary rendition, stating that Atlas Air was one of the airlines used by the US government for rendering detainees. This was the basis for the song "Atlas Air" recorded by Massive Attack for the album Heligoland.[6] In 2007, Atlas Air began a multiyear training contract with the United States Air Force to provide training for the pilots of Air Force One. The contract also provided training for the Presidential Airlift Group. This program has been renewed several times and remains in place as of 2022.[7]

In March 2010, Atlas Air was awarded the contract to operate the Boeing Dreamlifter (officially the Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter), transporting aircraft parts to Boeing from suppliers around the world. It commenced operation in September 2010 under a CMI contract.[8] In 2011, Atlas Air took the first North American delivery of the Boeing 747-8 Freighter (Boeing 747-8F).[9]

On April 7, 2016, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings purchased Southern Air for US$110 million in an all-cash deal. The transaction included Worldwide Air Logistics Group, Inc. and its two operating subsidiaries, Southern Air, Inc. and Florida West International Airways, Inc.[10] On May 5, 2016, and Atlas Air announced a deal for to lease 20 Boeing 767s to fuel growth of its new Amazon air-freight service, branded as Amazon Air. The deal also warranted Amazon the ability to buy up to 30% stake in the company over the next seven years. Under the agreement, Atlas Air Inc. would provide aircraft and CMI for seven years. This move came after Amazon's similar deal with Air Transport Services Group for 20 aircraft, also to be branded under Amazon Air.[11] In March 2017, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings shut down Florida West International Airways and cancelled the operating certificate.[12]

In January 2021, Atlas Air announced the purchase of an additional four 747-8 freighters from Boeing. They were the final four 747s to be built. These were to be delivered in 2022, when Boeing planned to shut the 747 production program.[citation needed] On November 17, 2021, Atlas Air and Southern Air completed their merger with the transition to a single operating certificate.[13] On August 4, 2022, Atlas agreed to be bought by an investor group for $3.2 billion.[14]

On January 31, 2023, the airline received the 1,574th and final 747 ever made - a 747-8F registered N863GT. As the last 747 to be made by Boeing, the aircraft features a decal of Joe Sutter, the designer of the 747, on the front, right side and the words "forever incredible". Many Boeing employees and executives, including those who were part of the "Incredibles," the people who worked on the first 747 prototype, gathered at Boeing's Everett Plant to bid farewell to the final aircraft.[15]


Atlas Air's headquarters are in Purchase, New York with a flight operations center located in Erlanger, Kentucky. Atlas Air operates flights on an aircraft & CMI and air charter basis for airlines, express operators, freight forwarders, charter brokers, global shippers, and the U.S. military, along with dry-leasing freighter aircraft. Atlas Air has global operations established in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and South America.[2] Crew bases are located at Anchorage–Ted Stevens; Chicago–O'Hare; Cincinnati; Los Angeles; Memphis; Miami; New York–JFK; Ontario, CA; and Tampa.[16]

As of late 2023, Atlas Air operates MSC Air Cargo flights on behalf of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), although MSC owns the aircraft and they are painted in MSC livery.[17]

Passenger operations

Atlas Air began operating a premium passenger private-charter service for the U.S.-Africa Energy Association in conjunction with SonAir in 2010. The charter service consisted of two customized Boeing 747-400 aircraft provided by SonAir. The aircraft were configured to serve 189 passengers in a three-class configuration. The charter service, which became known as the "Houston Express", included three dedicated weekly nonstop flights between Houston and Luanda, Angola.[18] As of 2017, Atlas Air was the charter service for the Jacksonville Jaguars.[19] As of 2021, Atlas Air owned a fleet of 10 B747 and B767 passenger aircraft available for lease in the passenger charter market.[2]


As of February 2023, Atlas Air operates these aircraft:[2][20]

Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
F C Y+ Y Total
Passenger fleet
Boeing 747-400 5 10 143 36 189 Used for VIP service
12 52 70 240 374 Used for VIP service
23 505 528
Boeing 767-300ER 6 30 218 248
Cargo fleet
Boeing 737-800BCF 8 Cargo Operated for Amazon Air
Boeing 747-400BCF 2 Cargo
Boeing 747-400BDSF 2 Cargo
Boeing 747-400ERF 2 Cargo
Boeing 747-400F 28 Cargo
2 Operated for Qantas[21]
5 Operated for Nippon Cargo Airlines[22]
Boeing Dreamlifter 4 Cargo Operated for Boeing
Boeing 747-8F 6 Cargo
1 Operated for Kuehne + Nagel[23]
1 Operated for Apex Logistics
The final 747 built, N863GT, delivered in February 2023[24]
Boeing 767-300ERF 3 Cargo
21 Leased out by Titan Aircraft Investments, 17 (as of y.e. 2021) operated by Atlas
2 Operated for DHL
Boeing 777F 2 2 Cargo Operated for Mediterranean Shipping Company Air Cargo[25]
7 Owned by Titan Aircraft Investments, operated by Atlas
6 Operated for DHL
Total 110 2

Accidents and incidents

See also


  1. ^ "Federal Aviation Administration – Airline Certificate Information – Detail View". Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc Annual Report 10-K".[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Armbruster, William (January 24, 2001). "Atlas Air Founder Chowdry Killed in Plane Crash". The Journal of Commerce. Archived from the original on May 25, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "History".
  5. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. March 27, 2007. p. 80.
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 23, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ Ostrower, Jon (March 9, 2010). "Dreamlifter deal part of 747–8 compensation to Atlas". Flight Global. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
  9. ^ "Atlas Air Worldwide Takes Delivery of Its First Boeing 747-8 Freighter" (Press release). November 8, 2011.
  10. ^ Stynes, Tess (January 19, 2016). "Atlas Air Agrees to Acquire Southern Air Holdings for $110 Million". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
  11. ^ Jamerson, Joshua (May 5, 2016). "Amazon Partners with Atlas Air Worldwide for Cargo Services". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  12. ^ "Florida West Int'l Airways formally shut down". ch-aviation. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
  13. ^ "Atlas Air Completes Operating Certificate Merger with Southern Air" (Press release). November 17, 2021.
  14. ^ "Apollo-led group to take Atlas Air private in a deal worth more than $3 billion". CNBC. August 4, 2022. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  15. ^ "Boeing, Atlas Air Celebrate Delivery of Final 747, an Airplane that Transformed Aviation and Global Air Travel". MediaRoom. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  16. ^ "Atlas | Charter". Airline Pilot Central. May 10, 2012. Archived from the original on May 22, 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
  17. ^ Kulisch, Eric (July 20, 2023). "Ocean carrier MSC adds 2nd cargo jet". Retrieved November 9, 2023.
  18. ^ How This Central African City Became the World's Most Expensive, retrieved September 2, 2022
  19. ^ "Company involved in deadly plane crash flies Jaguars players". February 26, 2019.
  20. ^ "Please verify your request |". Retrieved August 1, 2023.
  21. ^ Bueti, Grazia (August 11, 2022). "Atlas Air Extends Partnership with Qantas Freight". Atlas Air Worldwide. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  22. ^ "Atlas Air Worldwide Announces Expanded 747-400F Service For Nippon Cargo Airlines". Atlas Air (Press release). January 8, 2019.
  23. ^ "Kuehne+Nagel receives its first Boeing 747-8 Freighter "Inspire." from Atlas Air". Kuehne+Nagel Newsroom. November 23, 2022. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
  24. ^ "Atlas Air Worldwide Purchases Four Boeing 747–8 Freighters". Boeing (Press release). January 12, 2021.
  25. ^ "MSC Air Cargo prepares to take off ahead of schedule". Supply Chain Dive. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  26. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 747-212BSF N808MC Düsseldorf Airport (DUS)". Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  27. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 747-2D7B N527MC Lome Airport (LFW)". Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  28. ^ "Miami flight signals more mechanical issues for Atlas Air". May 19, 2010. Archived from the original on May 23, 2010. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  29. ^ "Rapid Descent and Crash into Water, Atlas Air Inc. Flight 3591, Boeing 767-375BCF, N1217A, Trinity Bay, Texas, February 23, 2019" (PDF). National Transportation Safety Board. July 14, 2020. NTSB/AAR-20/02. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  30. ^ Beresnevičius, Rytis (January 19, 2024). "Atlas Air Boeing 747-8 Returns To Miami After Flames Seen From Engine". Simple Flying. Retrieved January 20, 2024.
  31. ^ Hradecky, Simon (January 19, 2024). "Incident: Atlas B748 at Miami on Jan 18th 2024, engine fire". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved January 20, 2024.

Media related to Atlas Air at Wikimedia Commons