Release Date: 09 November 2006
Release ID: 1125
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (AAWW) (Nasdaq: AAWW), a leading provider of global air cargo services, today announced that Polar Air Cargo, Inc. (Polar), would begin scheduled-service operations into Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) starting November 11, 2006 with two weekly requencies.
Ronald A. Lane, Chief Marketing Officer, AAWW, said, "We are extremely proud to expand our operations in China by beginning scheduled air cargo service into Beijing. Polar reliably serves China through our operations in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Now that we are well-established in these zones, we considered it imperative to expand our mainland presence by focusing our operations on the Beijing-Tianjin Bohai Bay region. We believe that this region will soon be a dominant commercial hub for trans-Pacific air cargo. At Polar, we wanted to launch our service early in this market, and to be among the few air cargo operators to have regularly scheduled service in and out of PEK."
Polar is commencing service to Beijing following an earlier announcement in August that the U.S. Department of Transportation
(DOT) had awarded Polar four additional weekly frequencies for U.S.- China air cargo service beginning March 25, 2007, that will increase the carrier's total weekly China flights to 16.
Polar commenced its all-cargo scheduled service to China in December 2004 with six weekly flights. Three additional flights were added in March 2005, and another three in March 2006. The carrier is one of only four U.S. freighter operators designated to serve China.
Through its scheduled-service network, Polar offers service between China and multiple points in the United States, as well as Asia, Europe and South America.
Continued Mr. Lane, "Over the past two years, we have successfully and reliably operated our U.S.-China all-cargo service. This has allowed us to grow our presence in China, and throughout Asia, while providing competitive benefits to shippers in the U.S.-China market and all other connecting markets. We now look forward to building on our service in the dynamic Beijing market."
Last month, AAWW also announced that Polar intended to enter into a strategic partnership with DHL Express, in which DHL Express would invest $150 million to acquire a 49% equity interest, including a 25% voting in Polar's scheduled-service business. In addition, a long-term commercial agreement between the companies would provide DHL Express with dedicated capacity for its trans-Pacific routes, and would have the potential to provide the AAWW companies with a long-term revenue stream. DHL Express is the express market leader in Asia, and the partnership with leading scheduled-service provider Polar would mean that the companies could meet the rapidly rising demand for air cargo capacities between the U.S. and Asian destinations.
Polar will be celebrating the occasion of its first flight into PEK with an evening gala on Friday, November 10. Scheduled to attend are officials from the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC), as well as customers and vendors of Polar.
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