Amazon’s air freight operator expects more growth after posting a banner year during the pandemic

An Atlas Air Boeing 747 freighter flies in the clouds after taking off from Hong Kong International Airport on October 23, 2017 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

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Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings on Thursday forecast an increase in revenue in the first quarter as the Amazon air carrier continues to benefit from higher demand during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The cargo and charter company posted a profit of $ 360 million in 2020 after a net loss of $ 293 million in the previous year. Revenue rose 17% last year to $ 3.2 billion.

Amazon increased its stake in the company last month, Atlas said.

Atlas Air shares rose more than 3% in morning trade as the broader market fell.

While demand is expected to continue to be strong, the airline said pandemic-related expenses such as pilot award payments in the first quarter will weigh on bottom line results. Contract negotiations with the pilots have ended and the process will move to arbitration, which is expected to begin in mid-March. Rival ATSG, which also flies for Amazon, signed a preliminary contractual agreement with the pilots of its ABX unit in December.

While passenger airlines struggled with the pandemic that decimated the demand for travel, cargo companies have received a boost from e-commerce, medical supplies and a general decline in air cargo capacity.

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