View Full Version : British Airways US Freighters

14th Apr 2000, 03:40
British Airways is applying for permission to expand its fleet of UK based but US registered and crewed Freighters. They have had one Atlas Air B747-400F based in LHR on and off since 1995. They are trying now to bring in another at least until April 2001. This sounds like genuine merchant navy style flagging out to me. By the way foreign airlines (that is non US) are barred by Federal law from competing for wet lease contracts in the USA. No doubt some US pilots will read this. Please don't take this as an attack on you -but this would simply not be allowed in the USA.

If anyone objects to this, the person to write to is; Mr Glenn Cronin
MLD1, zone1/23
DETR, Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
London, SW1P 4DR

and to your MP !

14th Apr 2000, 04:01
The problem is that 5Y have the freighter capacity available. They have something like 20-25 742F and 10ish 744F (& another 20odd on order). There are virtually no decent 200s left on the market, & definately no 400s around. Secondly, the vast outlay on the 400 ($175m list price). What do you do? - Atlas do provide a solution, and have built their business around it. There is no European equivalent.

Before you ask, I'm European & do not work for Atlas.
(and just as well for us that BA don't take cargo that seriously)

rgds to all

14th Apr 2000, 08:51
"There is no European equivalent."

What about AFX? They have 747-200 based LHR- more a/c on the way plus possibly some -400s in the near future-

14th Apr 2000, 10:17
You're wrong shotone, non US carriers ARE allowed to operate wet leases in the USA.

14th Apr 2000, 10:38
No I'm not. Any US airline wishing to use a UK registered aircraft in this way would be prevented from doing so.

14th Apr 2000, 10:42
And cargorat, there are several UK airlines which operate large jet freighters -including Boeing 747's. If BA are allowed to make a hole in the rules, there is nothing at all to stop them using the same loophole in future for passenger aircraft.

14th Apr 2000, 12:23
Apparently, AFX put in an objection to DETR about Atlas, but a source in BA thinks that the objection will not be successful, as Atlas' 400's can out-perform AFX's Classics for payload & especially range. Also, BA are supposedly looking for at least 2 more aircraft from Atlas.

Phrate Animal
14th Apr 2000, 12:31
Makes a bit of a farce of the oneworld alliance.....oneworld partner CX have a freighter fleet (CXF+AHK)which could be expanded to cover this. Even have a bunch of crews in the western hemisphere (Europe + USA)which could cover the Atlantic flying. True they would need to expand but the resources are available. Would effectively mean the extra jobs would go to North Americans plus Europeans - and that doesn't sound like a bad deal to me!

[This message has been edited by Phrate Animal (edited 14 April 2000).]

14th Apr 2000, 13:17
Word on the street is that CX are looking at the Lufty 200Fs to enable a rapid expansion. Anybody else heard this?

14th Apr 2000, 16:50
ShotOne, our company have done it.
European registered company, european registered aircraft with european licensed crews. Are now operating out of MIA for a local US carrier. No problems whatsoever, also Transaer of Ireland wet lease their aircraft to US carriers and that's despite the fact they also operate in and out of Cuba.

Where did you get your facts?

14th Apr 2000, 18:56

You really need to get your facts straight, before you start yelling Fire.

Taesa, the now defunct carrier, was doing wetleases for Apple Vacations out of Chicago.
As some other threads have shown, Apple is also using british crews on G-registered airplanes, who may or may not be US licensed. ( Not intending to start a riot here, so please) Some other tour operator was using canadian 72's out of St. Louis with Canadian Crews, you can bet they were not taking tourist to Canada in the dead of winter.

ACMI's, or wetleases, is a way for a company to try out new routes, increase lift capability rapidly without serious capital layout. But since it offends ShotOne, tell you what: We will change the concept for you. The US carrier will now setup a route from LHR to Sometown, USA. This will be their own route, but guess what, BA would still put freight on them. The ACMI concept is now gone, feel better???

14th Apr 2000, 19:12
Diesel8, there is much truth in what you say. Our company leased a couple of Atlas' aircraft for precisely those reasons. And all meanwhile substituted with our own equipment/crews.

[This message has been edited by CargoRat (edited 14 April 2000).]

14th Apr 2000, 20:23
The "new" Southern Air (previous called Southern Air Transport) are picking up the LH aircraft - well at least they have one already and another 2 go to them very soon...

Funny how no European carriers have competed with likes of Atlas / Evergreen / Southern / Polar / Gemini etc...

Closest Europe has are the A300 operators such as ChanEx / Farnair / Air Contractors, but nothing in the DC10/747 area. I recall Cargolux used to do some ACMI stuff but are long since scheduled, even hiring in SAT / Atlas to help with their Panalpina contracts.

Cargolion have just upgraded to DC10 from their old smoking DC-8's...they do some ACMI..

AFX are recent arrival, supposed to be concentrating on scheduled work. Their aircraft are the ex Tigers / Fedex / LH Atlas / Boeing aircraft..with P&W -70A's. Pieces of junk that no-one wanted...

But then again, they are British, and apparently available...

14th Apr 2000, 22:11
OneWorld22, Transaer have had some kind of cut back for operating in the USA; heard it might be associated with the "leasing" problems.

15th Apr 2000, 00:14
Hi Zones
Yr Southern bit is correct. Scuttlebut has it that all 3 will be flying with CLX by the end of this year.
Ref AFX. I was going to comment on my previous post, but decided against it. Good luck to them, but they still have to prove themselves. 1 JT9 powered gas guzzler (compared to 400) is not going to make AFX a big name in the market.
CargoLion; Word has it they are finished (financially). The first -10 has been sitting here for a couple of months - hasn't moved except for engine runs. There is 1 DC8 sitting on the ramp minus 2 engines - I'm told they went back to the leasors. Last I heard on the grapevine was that their crews had been asked for a "salary loan".
Cargolux: 10 744Fs doing 16BLH/day. Not much left for ACMI (hence above Southern rumour).

15th Apr 2000, 01:01
Diesel 8, I agree that ACMI is a great way to "try out new routes" as you put it. trouble is, this one has been going since 1995 -so much for that argument.

As to the question why European freight carriers aren't competing with the likes of Fed-ex, Polar Air etc we have to look at the so called "open skies" deal. These carriers have a base in Prestwick to make onward flights to various destinations in Europe. No such privilege for European carriers flying in the other direction. Not quite the same subject but you did raise the point.

15th Apr 2000, 01:08
I understand from a colleague who works there the Channex are exploring another wide body type in addition to the one A300 they operate. So perhaps BA can keep it within the UK!

15th Apr 2000, 01:13
...and, while I am sure that the contributors above who have mentioned short-term leases are telling the truth, that is hardly comparing like with like.

Are you seriously trying to say that if Delta or American Airlines wished to set up and run a freight subsidiary from JFK for 5 years with British owned and crewed aircraft they would be allowed to? Dream on.

15th Apr 2000, 04:48

There would not be much point in doing that, for American to set up a British crewed company, since it is more cost effective, read cheaper, for them to use an american company. The other point is that Americans union would not go along with it. Whether there is a federal ruling concerning this topic, I honestly do not know.

15th Apr 2000, 08:10
Cargolux operates all Swissair cargo flight to Hong kong in place of the Gemini DC10s that used to do it.

BA sometimes has TWO cargo flights a day to HKG both using Atlas aircraft. The flight that is not the BA coloured a/c is always N494MC, suggesting perhaps that BA are permanently using it?

15th Apr 2000, 12:35
Diesel 8 I agree that your comment "the unions would not go along with it" is exactly right -and geh65, BA now wish permits for TWO B747 aircraft N494MC & N494MC.

15th Apr 2000, 14:05
..oops sorry, finger trouble -should read N494MC & N495MC

15th Apr 2000, 15:02
Hi Rat

Southern had 1 B747-200F (N750SJ ex SQ aircraft with R4G2's) operating for CV before they went down. At that time they were about to buy 3 CV Classics and wet lease back 2 of them. But deal fell through with Southern demise, and Atlas steamed in to pick up the pieces.

But these CV leases are a "funny" arrangement in that the real customer is actually ASB/Panalpina, with CV essentially just a middle man...

If the new Southern are back in the picture with CV, it would seam that the Atlas/CV relationship never really prospered. Or are Atlas still in the game with CV ?? ( I heard that an Atlas 74F in China A/L colours over ran at LUX a few months back too...)


15th Apr 2000, 16:16
Hi Zones;
N750SJ went to JAL if I remember correctly. They currently have 1 ex LH bird, SCD only, CF6 engines - 1/2 more to come.
I think 742 went to MK.
Ref the 3 Classics. Thanks for the non-returnable deposits - we kept the dosh, SJ went bust a few days later. Kitty Hawk were also sniffing around these aircraft. They later became N537/538/539MC. I think 538 was sold a couple of months ago to C.A.L in TLV.
Yes ASB is a major customer - thing is we cannot give them all the capacity they require - so we will help out arranging alternative aircraft for them.
An Atlas -200 with CI callsign did over-run by about 15ft. Took almost an hour to get it out again due snow (tow trucks couldn't get any grip).

15th Apr 2000, 16:21
Hot from rumour control

Atlas has set up a wholly-owned subsidiary called "Atlas Air Crew
Services", which will be based at STN and headed by a former British Airways wide-body pilot.

The initial composition of the base will be 5 airplanes and 120

2 -400s with 16 Capts and 32 F/Os to service the current BA contract

3 -200s with 24 Capts, 24 F/Os, and 24 F/Es to service [parts of] the
Malaysia, Sterling, China Air, and Emirates contracts

Current Atlas Crewmembers will have first right to bid for the STN base,
according to seniority. All terms will be in the proffer being sent. Bids
will close May 1, 2000, and awards will be made May 6, 2000. All vacancies
bid by and awarded to current Atlas Crewmembers will be opened to local Pilots
and Flight Engineers who apply to Atlas Air Crew Services at STN. Current
Atlas Crewmembers who move to STN will have seniority over all new-hires.

There will be "absolutely no furloughs" as a
result of this business decision. Atlas is not sure how it will affect the
manning of the JFK crew base (it "should not be significant"), but ANC will

The STN base will be run under UK labor laws. There will be different
rules and separate seniority lists. They will NOT be subject to the US
National Railway Labor Act or National Mediation Board, or represented by ALPA
Council 72. Crewmembers will work under a "personal contract" and be paid a
salary in British pounds. Work month will be 20 days, with time-and-a-half on
a daily basis for work over 20 days. Expect to be away from STN for "several
months at a time." We were told that an initial commitment is 2 years, after
which a Crewmember would be able to return to a stateside base with full
retained seniority (e.g., a 5-year Capt who goes to STN for 2 years could
return to JFK with 7-year seniority) to fill a vacancy or bump a junior
Crewmember. Note: Any terms may be subject to change in the future as a
result of negotiated terms (e.g., scope, seniority) of the ALPA contract that
is being negotiated by Council 72 and the "mainline" Atlas Air.

The STN flying will be under US FARs and current Atlas policies.
Scheduling will be done at STN; dispatch will be done from JFK. Training will
be done at current Atlas training sites. Atlas Air Crew Services crews will
NOT fly into the US.


[This message has been edited by CargoRat (edited 15 April 2000).]

Ho Lee Prang
15th Apr 2000, 17:05
No one seems to have mentioned an important factor. There are dozens of US registered aircraft operating within Europe, and whilst they are still allowed to come in, European operators will never be able to establish themselves so that they can satisfy the needs of DHL, BA etc.

If DETR say "OK", then AFX, Channex, Heavylift, Air Foyle, and others will have no incentive whatsoever to acquire an aircraft that will do the job, bearing in mind that there is an economic hurdle to overcome right at the start, ie US operators are inherently more cost effective than European operators.

But with better economy of scale, this hurdle could be reduced very considerably.

OneWorld 22, I accept your info, but I am sure that wet-lease operations are not allowed within the USA, so there must have been some sort of exceptional circumstance at play. I'll go along with ShotOne.

Ho Lee

16th Apr 2000, 12:47
Apologies for going off the subj slightly, but for benefit of Rat, according to my records:

740 went to JAL or MK (Q-power)
741 went to MK or JAL (Q-power)
(can't remember which one went to which)
744 went to Northwest (Q-power)
745 I think is in storage. (J-power rubbish)
750 went to SAA (R4G2)

Well prior to SJ death, 742 was the aircraft that had the Mercury spill...went to Polar later after clean up.


16th Apr 2000, 16:02
Hi Zones
I'm going for a beer with an ex SAT guy this afternoon. I'll get the low-down as to who got what. I don't think 750 is still with SAA.
rgds Rat

Captain Ed
16th Apr 2000, 16:18
In the USA, we have cabotage laws that prevent foreign carriers from taking pax or cargo from one US point to another, whether they be ships or airplanes.

A BA flight from LHR to JFK many proceed to SFO, for instance, and discharge it's thru pax there. It may not however pick up pax at JFK, carry them to SFO for a fare, and discharge them there.

I believe such laws exist in other European countries. For instance, TWA operated JFK to MAD, then on to Malaga. We could not board paying pax in MAD for Malaga.

I support such laws, and I'm surprized the UK does not have similar ones.

16th Apr 2000, 17:41
As far as I know, SAA have got rid of both their 747 freighters....not sure where they went though.

16th Apr 2000, 17:56
The point is, Capt Ed, that US carriers are allowed to use a European hub (such as prestwick or brussels) to carry freight onward to various destinations within Europe (I agree not necessarily within the same country). European carriers flying in the opposite direction absolutely can't do this.

By the way, would Zones and geh65 mind doing their reggie spotting on another thread please.

Captain Ed
16th Apr 2000, 18:15
ShotOne - I see the problem. A question now. Could British registered A/C use ORD as a hub, and fly to Canada and Mexico, for instance?

Cruise ships of practically every nation use US Ports to go all over and back. The only cruise ships left in US Registry are in Hawaii. We've cruised to Bermuda from NY on ships registered in Norway, and Liberia (what a joke!). Foreign ships cruise the inland waterway to Alaska from Vancouver, BC, and from Los Angeles to Mexican ports.

16th Apr 2000, 21:34
I take yr point - but I did apologise in advance. Problem is that many Pprune threads take slightly different tacks as they develop...

And my interest was more than just "reggie spotting" or whatever you call it....

Back to the point however - and using the CV/Panalpina/Atlas/SAT leases as an example.

Panalpina have some specific contracts which require cargo to go from Mexico to USA, and Mexico to Europe, and US to Europe, and vice versa.

They get around this by using cunning plan: wet lease CV for t-rights LUX/MEX, MC or SJ for the US/MEX bit. But it is Panalpina that chooses MC or SJ or whoever, CV acts pretty much as a middle man, adding a few % on rates to cover some of admin costs.

Panalpina (or CV) need US carriers for their low costs and t-rights out of USA... they couldn't do it with CV aircraft on regular basis (if they had a/c available).

17th Apr 2000, 02:08
You seem to know what the F business is all about.
After my beer with my ex-SAT friend:
cfm 744 with NW
741 MK
742 Polar
750 SAA & back to leasing Co

Attn Zones: ref CV/PAN/MC/SJ: The thing is, you can fill 25 F a/c Europe to S.America, the thing is "what about the return load". Think about it.

[This message has been edited by CargoRat (edited 16 April 2000).]

17th Apr 2000, 08:54
>Are you seriously trying to say that if >Delta or American Airlines wished to set up >and run
>a freight subsidiary from JFK for 5 years >with British owned and crewed aircraft they
>would be allowed to? Dream on.


>There would not be much point in doing that, >for American to set up a British crewed
>company, since it is more cost effective, >read cheaper, for them to use an american
>company. The other point is that Americans >union would not go along with it. Whether
>there is a federal ruling concerning this >topic, I honestly do not know.

In response to the above, a couple of points. Non-U.S. operators could do sub-contract, but I expect not on domestic routes, just international ones, 3rd, 4th and 5th freedom stuff.

Next, I would remind you that the international code-share that all the U.S. major pax carriers do amounts to the same thing anyway!

18th Apr 2000, 12:35
With regard to TransAer operating in the US, all A320s leased to Transmeridian are re registered with an American reg. Initially in 1994, 95, allcrews that went to Chicago were let go by TransAer and re employed in the States. The Cuban aircraft retain the Irish reg, however they dont fly in to the USA only Canada or South America. Aeropostale A320s in Caracas operated into Miami with Irish reg.

18th Apr 2000, 16:48
Hello all!
Cargo operations are obviously not profitable. SK (Scandinavian Airlines)did operate N523MC, 517...and several other ac. for a few years, GOT-SHJ-MFM...GOT-JFK...Dry lease..Guess what happend! SK cancelled the contract with ATLAS and NOW...LH with German pilots(!)is operating one 747 and one MD11 from GOT, atleast three times a week (GOT-SHJ-..? and GOT-Fairbanks..?). The MD11 even on SK callsign. How is this possible???


[This message has been edited by spirit38 (edited 18 April 2000).]

18th Apr 2000, 17:00
Hi spirit38,
517 is flying for China Airlines, & I think 523 is also with them.
Ref callsign: pretty standard for ACMI. The 5Y birds will have also used SK flight numbers. We use whoever's callsign for such leases.
Cargo is profitable if you go about it in the right way, though with current fuel prices the margins must be quite low using a classic aircraft.

Panalpina / SGC
18th Apr 2000, 17:01
Cargorat / Zones,you both have good knowledge of our company.I see how cargorat will know but not you zones,where are you based in uk.Anyway from a personal view,Atlas are supplying carriers worldwide a solution that so far no one has matched.Our company and Cargolux go back a long way and will continue to do so.Initially CV controlled the wetlease operation and this has since passed to our control.I dont see why Atlas should not be allowed to continue working with BA as they have done for several years now.I know that this may appear harsh to the European carriers and I have worked with many of afford to wait until you have the business before you buy the equipment.A good example is CV.It takes real balls to do what they did.Going from 3 -400s to 10.With no guarantee to fill them.They got the equipment and worked round the clock to sell them and fill them and they are still doing it.Atlas have done the same although not as a scheduled carrier but in the ACMI trade.
Anyway surely the DETR have to take on board that nobody else has 2 x 747-400Fs that are availble for wetlease from next month in the UK.

If I am correct in saying these applications from BA are in breach of EU regulations EEC/2407/92,although leasing can be permitted for the temporary needs of an air carrier or if there are exceptional circumstances.The DETR have since recvd 6 objections to the renewal of the licences.Its up to BA to convince the DETR that this is exceptional circumstances.Lets wait and see and hope that whatever the outcome is,it will benefit all concerned

18th Apr 2000, 17:21
Moien Panalpina/SGC.
I think you got it in one. There simply aren't any spare 400s around,& Atlas have the production line sewn up for quite a while. I really can't understand what all the complaining is about.
If I may say so, we went from 4 -200s (3 x 271C ex TransAmerica, 1 x 228F ex AF (1974 vintage)) to the current 10 400s (2 more to come for the moment).
Are you in UK or LUX?
rgds Rat

18th Apr 2000, 17:31
Are you working for Cargolux? If you are (or if you are not but know anyway), could you tell if they are recruiting now and what criterias they prefer and who to adress. I“ve tried to get info on the net about C.L but did“t manage to get it.

Wannabe Freight-Dawg!!

18th Apr 2000, 17:58
Spirit: http://www.cargolux.com/about/Default.htm
There is an online application form. Not really hiring at the moment, but give it a crack; who knows. 1500hrs min.

rgds Rat

[This message has been edited by CargoRat (edited 18 April 2000).]

18th Apr 2000, 18:04
To Pan/SGC: Is this the new name of your company? I thought it was going to be simply SGC, though everyone still calls it Panalpina.

18th Apr 2000, 19:44
Thanx Rat!

Panalpina / SGC
18th Apr 2000, 20:38
Rat,Swiss Global Cargo or SGC is part made up of the former ASB.It is a daughter company of Panalpina.It is jointly owned 55% Panalpina and 45% SAir Group.The former air division of ASB was incorporated into the new company.I am in the UK for now.

18th Apr 2000, 22:48
SGC, fair enough. You know where I am from my profile. You also know that PAN/SGC have 100s of employees at ellx. Seems to me your company cannot make up its mind what to call itself. You will be Panalpina until you make up yr minds.
Yr handling agent in Lux is not quite sure what to call you...Please decide!\
rgds Rat

18th Apr 2000, 23:18
Greetins geh55,
sorry for not answering earlier. My understanding as follows:
N750SJ always operated for SAA - a superb aircraft (-200 series/very low OEW -7R engines with a -300 wing). It was flying SA6213; CPT/WDH VIT (LEVT) LUX (ELLX). Ex SIA?
PAN/SGC: I know one of your ex-Lux guys in PIK..

[This message has been edited by CargoRat (edited 18 April 2000).]

Panalpina / SGC
19th Apr 2000, 10:22
rat,is he irish or swiss,either way he probably works for me.

19th Apr 2000, 18:30
Pan/sgc Irish (J).

19th Apr 2000, 20:03
BA have 15 747-200 aircraft, shortly to be sent to the desert to rot away, all have D4 rollers and can do Hong Kong direct, 3 have even got frieght doors, and still people say there are no frieghters about?

19th Apr 2000, 20:15
HKG direct on a -200 equates to about 45T gross payload. Not exactly a money winner. Conversions are heavy, don't have a nose-door, and often as not, no 377.8T increased mtow.
rgds Rat

Panalpina / SGC
19th Apr 2000, 20:24
Well said Rat,we have to do fuel stops westbound ex lux when the -400 is on A chk and replaced by a -200.And thats just over the Atlantic.

You must mean Joe.If so then yes he works for me.

19th Apr 2000, 20:27
Yep, Joe it is - haven't seen his brother for a while now that I think of it. He also works for you guys.

Panalpina / SGC
19th Apr 2000, 20:48
He is still in LUX.Got married last year to some polish girl.Joe is on holiday back to Ireland at the moment.Will pass on your regards when he gets back.Paul is working in the SGC office at LUX doing admin.

21st Apr 2000, 01:30
Attn Shot-One
Perhaps some appologies for going off-track from your original post.
Any comments from your side after the 50 something replies to your post? Awfully quiet from your side (Please confirm your not a whinging Nigel)
rgds Rat

23rd Apr 2000, 01:22
Heard that BA have lost the waiver to use Atlas. Quote from DETR: "not exceptional circumstances."

24th Apr 2000, 15:12
sorry cargo rat I'm not ignoring you-just that rather boringly I have to go to work...and no I'm not a Nigel!

Events have overtaken the post as, thanks largely to a superb campaign by the Independent Pilots Association, the DETR (as akwah rightly states) have refused to allow BA permission to continue with this.

Although there has been some US/UK friction evident in this thread, this is a good decision for pilots on BOTH sides of the Atlantic. It is not in any of our interests to have a merchant navy style free for all.

25th Apr 2000, 00:29
Interesting discussion though.
Happy Easter & all that.
rgds Rat

25th Apr 2000, 01:59
Rumour control:

That one of BA's -236' to be sold to "Atlas UK" (presumably a fictional company).

The machine mentioned was XO - not one of the Combis but to the spec, sans door, and capable of 379,202kg MTOW.

Not likely, but possible.

Further rumour, not confirmed to me, is that a certain ex 747/777/SSC chief pilot to become involved with this alleged operation. I think that's a spoiler to stop anyone from BA wanting to work for the outfit..... :)

26th Apr 2000, 02:46
You might find that 379.2 is max ramp weight for the -200.
ShotOne: Atlas is out, so that ends that part of the discussion. Now I have a question - haven't you (or the IPA) been a bit selfish? BA doesn't have a freighter fleet, and won't be able to be a viable force in the market in the near future - it takes time.
UK customers now have no choice but to put all their freight on a truck, and send it over to places like LUX/FRA/CDG/SPL etc etc where there are large freigher fleets operating. And believe me, thats exactly what is happening. The UK cargo that BA would have carried, IS being carried by the likes of Cargolux/Air France Cargo/Lufthansa Cargo/KLM - the list goes on.
I think your hurting yourselves in the long run. All that freight is a lot of jobs going abroad.
rgds Rat

[This message has been edited by CargoRat (edited 25 April 2000).]

[This message has been edited by CargoRat (edited 26 April 2000).]

26th Apr 2000, 19:45
Somehow nobody replied to cargorats posting about ATLAs AIR CREW SERVICES in STN. But it contains the answer to all questions about outsourcing to US ACMI operators. It also explains why German pilots and not ATLAS crews are flying for SK. The reason is simple. ATLAS is too expensive. Actually, most US ACMI operators are too expensive. With the Euro loosing value day by day, and US pilot salaries at very high levels, a Polar B744 captain makes much more than the same guy at Lufthansa.
On the contrary, US ALPA is concerned about loosing jobs too Europeans, because we are the cheap guys now.

26th Apr 2000, 21:24
>>With the Euro loosing value day by day, and US pilot salaries at very high levels, a Polar B744 captain makes much more than the same guy at Lufthansa.<<

I don't know about Polar but the Atlas guys don't make very much by U.S. standards. I ran into an Atlas 747-200 captain recently who said he expected to make about $62,000 this year. A wide-body F/O at United or Delta would make a great deal more than this. Somebody may be getting the money but it's not the crews at Atlas.

26th Apr 2000, 21:35
No, cargo rat, I don't think either I or the IPA are "being selfish". There is no question of having to stick freight on a truck. Several UK airlines -four of whom lodged official objections, operate large freight aircraft -including B747 (I agree not yet the 400). They will be delighted to have a chance to compete for this business.

26th Apr 2000, 22:38
Cargorat: yep you're right. Oooops.

In my defence I haven't flown the dear old things for a couple of years, and my memory obviously ain't as good as I remember.

On topic, though, anyone heard the same rumour????

28th Apr 2000, 13:21
Interesting enough what has been overlooked in this thread is the contempt of Atlas Air management towards it's pilot group.
Having recently entered contract negotiations with ALPA, Atlas Air management has sprung upon the pilot group a depolrable ultimatum by establishing an International base in Stansted, England with a closing bid date if May 10th. If sufficient numbers of the pilot group do not bid this assignment Atlas Air crew leasing reserves the right to hire outside. This tactic can only be described as union busting. Atlas pilots do not want this base and we hope that our brothers overseas will not bid for these slots which will only undermine our efforts to secure a respectable wage from a company that has no regard for it's employees.

28th Apr 2000, 17:28

You seem to be close to the fire. Just out of interest what is morale and salary like at Atlas??

I'd rather be flying... :)

28th Apr 2000, 20:14
I am not that close to the fire, but ATLAS crews have told me that morale is low right now. Since they got their ALPA contract, all profit sharing was stopped. Also note, that all aircraft are registered N747MC, which stands for Mike Chowdry. They are not owned by ATLAS, but by MCs Leasing company. -400 captains I met are getting ready to leave for overseas jobs (Asia).

28th Apr 2000, 21:48
As one who is "close to the fire," I can tell you that morale at Atlas is low. Some are looking at employment elsewhere, but the majority are comitted to gaining a fair and equitable contract and making this a good place to work.

As of yet, there is no labor contract at Atlas and thus we are all still "at will" employees.

Management appear to be hostile to labor and we are being chisled on a daily basis with degradations in hotels and catering as examples. Often forced to fly beyond scheduled days or face termination. Rarely do you fly the schedule you were awarded in monthly bid. Needs of the company you know. Quit if you don't like it.

For 19 days per month of duty, our average captain is earning $80,0000 with FO's and FE's making perhaps 2/3 that amount if past the first year. Of course, we have pilots make much and and much less. The frustrating thing is that you may spend several days at a stretch in a hotel somewhere making only per diem and many months it is difficult to overfly the 60 hour guarantee. You are gone for entire 18 or 19 days per month (supposed to have 12 days off per month) whether you are productive or not.

Anyone considering the Atlas Aircrew Services scheme need to have their eyes wide open. You will be "used" to the maximum extent possible and paid for as few hours as possible. Watch out for the contract, you will not be free to leave as the Atlas pilots are. If you thought slavery wasn't alive and well in the civlized world, think again. This operation is preying on older pilots who just want an aircraft to fly and will be grateful at that. This is not a career move! Their management will be singing in tune with MC and have no regard for you in least.

Atlas Aircrew Services as union buster? I don't think it is neccessarily so. But it will not be a pleasant place to work even if it allows MC to keep the BA contract. If you should go to work for AAS, rest assured their will be no contempt from the Atlas pilot group, unless of course you left Atlas US and think you are coming back on our seniority list.

29th Apr 2000, 00:08
This move to the UK ( hence Europe) by an FAA carrier is a very serious development. Airlines that must abide by the JAA cannot compete on a level playing field with the FAA operated airlines. European aircrew should also be aware that the last few decades of gains made concerning duty time will be thrown out with the FAA (flag and Supplemental) regulations being much longer.

29th Apr 2000, 14:31
If freighting is a moneyspinner, and presumably it is, then why dont BA reconfigure their -200 Combis and use them as such.Premium self loading in the front and cargo to the rear ( as do AF, and KLM).

29th Apr 2000, 17:56
I think Combi's are very much "out" since the Helderberg disaster (SAA Combi). Damned things are horrible to balance since all weight in the back. A colleague of mine worked with them, often using center-tank fuel as nose-down ballast.
rgds Rat

29th Apr 2000, 20:42
BA would have a problem operating freighters in the current market-place, primarily because BALPA would want BA to pay the standard BA 747-400 salary. This would make them uncompetitive. Lufthansa split off their cargo operation and pay less than the standard Lufthansa salary. Cargolux, the other big long-haul cargo player in Europe, pay considerably less than BA. (Although a lot more than Atlas, it would appear). Air France don't count, since they still drink from the taxpayers' bottomless pit.
I would be interested to know BALPA's view on the idea of BA having a separate cargo operation, paying competitive rates. Would they prefer an American low cost carrier using American crews to carry BA's freight, or would a BA cargo operation paying representative salaries be acceptable to them.

30th Apr 2000, 12:28
It's all about big business folks!
Atlas is in jeopardy of losing the BA contract if they don't hire locals period. And atlas is one squirrel that doesn't want to let that nut go!
They are counting on retired BA Capt.'s to fill the required slots. One would naturally think that a retired BA Capt. on pension would not consider working under the terms of the proposed contract but Atlas thinks differently. They figure theses guys are dead in the water anyway and will take whatever they can get. I would be interested in hearing from any of these gentleman on this matter.

30th Apr 2000, 19:46
If BALPA were to allow BA Captains to retire at 60, the problem of retirees taking low-paid jobs would disappear. Too much self-interest at stake to agree to that, I suppose.

2nd May 2000, 17:28
If a company wanted to set up, say, a fast food or supermarket chain in Britain but stated it was "uneconomical" to employ UK workers how would that be received?

2nd May 2000, 19:10
My two pennies worth again, Shot One. I can't help feeling that many are missing the point...BA doesn't have any freighters. Ok so they could procure some; even if they did, look at the scenarios;
-get hold of some 2nd hand ones. LH have a whole bunch of mothballed 747-200F. All replaced with new MD11F. I believe LH parked them because they were no longer profitable to operate (fuel consumption & spiralling maintenance costs).
-buy new ones. let's say half a dozen to start with. Cost no object. Order them today; delivery...12 months? So, 12 months later, they're sitting on the ramp waiting to be filled. How do you fill them without an established reputation (BA's pax reputation doesn't count), and an established market (need a reputation for that). Catch22.
The likes of Atlas enable a carrier to: establish themselves/increase market share/try new destinations without a vast capital outlay.
And I still maintain that the MAJORITY of UK cargo is trucked out of the UK, to fly on scheduled freight carriers from within the EU, as I mentioned in an earlier post.
UK's loss, our gain.Thank you very much for your business.
And before everyone starts shouting about established UK freight carriers (lets say AFX & Channel Express), 1 -200F and a couple of A300s are not going to satisfy the market.
I repeat that I'm not "pro-Atlas"; I don't even work for them. They do, however, have their uses.
My humble opinions.
rgds Rat

3rd May 2000, 00:53
Read in press that Atlas are considering more than just setting up crewing organisation, but are looking to purchase a major (majority?) share in a Euro AOC...with same goal to protect established European business.....??

Regarding pros & cons of ACMI operators, the other advantage that lessors find is that real freighter costs become clear. Waters are not "muddied" by shared overheads with pax business. Lessors then have more confidence about profitability (or not) of cargo ops.

3rd May 2000, 02:05
I see Atlas, in conjunction with Boeing and Honeywell, is now looking to convert their "classic" 747's to glass cockpit config.
So bye-bye to yet more F/E's.

ref:FI 2-8 MAY 2000

3rd May 2000, 04:16
Hi Zones again,
Ref yr last post: yes!.
May all the rest in the UK continue with their short-sighted opinions!!!
Thanks very much - it helps MY profit sharing...HiHiHi all the way to the bank!
Please keep sending that freight over to the euro mainland... :)
The Rat is an Englishman who gave up on Blighty long long ago (1974 to be exact)...

3rd May 2000, 04:28
RE Atlas -200's getting glass cockpits: True that Atlas have been seriously exploring and may have a contract pending to redo all but the oldest aircraft. THE FLIGHT ENGINEER REMAINS! They are planning to replace pilot's instruments with CRT's. Penny and Giles engine instrumentation is already in the works and change is in our flight manuals. Add dual FMC's as well.

My guess is that it would be cheaper to buy a new -400 than modify a -200 to be certified with a two man cockpit.

3rd May 2000, 05:25
Sorry Cargo400, my mistake. I missed the part of the article that indeed says "the flight engineers position will be retained".

I remember a while ago getting wind of a planned cockpit upgrade for some DC10's. I think in this case they were cutting it back to two crew. I think they were going to rename it the MD10, Was it for FEDEX?
Do you know if this has gone ahead?

I love the way that it's only us hardy cargo flyers who are the ones wandering around ppruneland at these ungodly hours!!!! ;)

[This message has been edited by OneWorld22 (edited 03 May 2000).]

3rd May 2000, 08:54
The MD-10 (glass cockpit version of the DC-10) is very near certification. FedEx will most probably have several operating by the end of this calendar year. Test program has gone quite well. At this point there is some concern by the union on the issue of having it operated as the same type rating with the MD-11(like the 767/757), with common currency. Although the differences between the -10 and -11 are actually a bit less than the 767 and 757, there are still some real concerns. It remains to be seen how this is resolved, although Boeing and FedEx are pushing for the certication for the same type rating.

3rd May 2000, 22:28
Thanks for the info Prof2MDA, I didn't know the MD-10 program was so far advanced, is the testing being done at Long Beach? Do you know how many aircraft are going to be re-configured and is it just for FedEx?

I would guess Boeing will be looking anxiously at whether the MD-10 gets the go-ahead for dual rating with the MD11, because they're now planning the same thing with the planned 747 Classics glass cockpit upgrade.

One more thing does anyone know if the MD-10 will be minus the F/E?

5th May 2000, 01:53
No FE on an MD10


5th May 2000, 08:25
According to today's news (Wall St Journal)the MD-10 has been approved with the same type rating. I'll post more in a separate post on the topic.

5th May 2000, 11:02
According to this week's Flight Int'l, the F/E will be maintained on the glass cockpit 747-200.
rgds Rat

5th May 2000, 12:14
Thanks for your response cargorat. I don't work for Atlas either -although judging from some earlier posts they sound like pretty awful employers. This isn't a UK vs US thing. The American pilots are being screwed more than anyone.

It sounds as though a big part of the motivation for this deal is not what flag appears on the tail but simply to avoid employment laws/employee rights of either the UK or the USA.

5th May 2000, 12:49
Hi ShotOne. Keep this up and you'll get the magic 100 replies!
I hear that the N- ACMI business will be over in Europe by the end of the year, sort of tit for tat by JAA.
Ok, so what is the UK freight customer going to do now?
rgds Rat

5th May 2000, 13:00
There is a large amount of baloney flying around here.In the grand scheme of things,a B747 captains salary is negligible compared to the profits to be made in long haul freight.These carriers can easily pay the going rate for the job and my humble advice is to not take the position unless it is a representative wage,i.e.close to a mainline BA captain.

5th May 2000, 15:18
Who owns AFX, and are they looking fo F/O's. Are they OK?

5th May 2000, 19:32
Ojay, you are on the money.Look at NWA and UAL.Cargo fleets pay same money and at NWA flying is mixed cargo one leg pax the next.On this side of the pond if it said BA on the a/c BA pilots would crew it .

5th May 2000, 19:34
CargoRat, your point well up the page regarding BA freight business. Surely the Atlas aircraft flying for BA is painted in BA colours and uses a BA callsign, albeit with an american accent. Why can't they just continue doing this but with their own aircraft and crews? BA has a huge freight business, however, most of it travels at low cost in passenger aircraft bellies. Same story in CX, who also have a large freight business. HKIA is the world's busiest International freight hub and 65% of the freight passing through there is on passenger aircraft. My point, of course the business is there for a BA dedicated freighter fleet and BA already enjoy an excellent reputation as a freight hauling airline. The parallel with CX is sound, a large and increasing freighter fleet to complement the freight capacity of the passenger aircraft.

5th May 2000, 22:09
Hi mole.
Yes, I would assume your bit about the callsign etc is correct. That's the way it's usually done.
Żou said it yourself: belly capacity. This is not what we call "hard freight" ie your 20ft long crate that weighs over 40000Lbs - everyday stuff for us. My point is only this: BA will not be able to invent a freighter fleet tomorrow. In the meantime, I really can't see where the problem is using 5Y.
CX have approx a dozen freighters.
rgds Rat

5th May 2000, 23:03
"It sounds as though a big part of the motivation for this deal is not what flag appears on the tail but simply to avoid employment laws/employee rights of either the UK or the USA."

Shot One, you should move to the head of the class! MC is using Frank Lorenzo tactics to extract every last penny from exploited pilots' pockets.

Atlas is a great company, great business, great aircraft. JUST LOUSY EMPLOYERS. They do not value you, you're families, your opinion. Shut up and fly the freight. Don't like it, quit. They'll hire some other poor bastard who's needing to pay a bill or too. Just don't get too comfortable, they don't want you here for a career--that would cost money.

The US pilot group are hanging tough to force Atlas to become a decent employer. If and when that happens think it will be hard for the same company to mistreat pilots hired into an wholly owned, offshore operation.

BTW, in many cases Atlas must operate under customers' call sign because they (Atlas) don't hold route authority.

Still want to know what some of you ex-BA guys think about the money on offer to give your lives up to a predatory company. Did they come close?

5th May 2000, 23:06
Hi CargoRat, not a dozen unless you include the 777's and 330's that fly the nightly DHL trips. You can't include the AHK fleet bcos they operate under their own AOC. I believe the CX fleet is 4 747-200 and 2 747-400 with 3 747-400 on order, although that changes almost daily. I agree that there is a lot of freight that can only go by freighter, and not only bcos of bulk. However, don't discount the passenger fleets, a B777-300 can carry 40 standard containers - that's 14 more than a B747. It adds much to the bottom line when you carry 360+ pax and 30 tons of freight. That freight is moved for the tiny cost of the increased fuel burn. Good economics.

5th May 2000, 23:15
Sorry getting off the thread a bit above. But if CX can announce 744F orders on a regular basis then why not BA? This STN deal is total crap. Maybe the arrival of Eddington at BA may change a few things wrt to freighter ops. I don't see mainline pay, but perhaps a sweeter deal than the ASL people got in HKG. But then again when the likes of NWA can pay one salary for freight and pax why not BA or CX. Union power? BA crew have this, when ASL was born CX crew had a weak union, this has changed dramatically over the last few years, however, possibly too late to change the freighter contracts significantly.

6th May 2000, 12:56
Hi mole. Thanks for correcting my bit about a dozen freighters.
rgds Rat

catch 22
6th May 2000, 21:30
Altas seems to be betting on starting subsiderary companies in order to have complete control of their labour force. They will not have to deal with the new union, which has already started negociations in good faith. I am already hearing rumours of a similar operation starting up in Brazil.

7th May 2000, 00:01
Catch22 - a shot in the dark...VCP/SBKP?

rgds Rat

7th May 2000, 05:18
Is that true that the whole deal is off?
I thought if they were allowed to take Brits the project could go ahead. Is there any point in sending the CV to the Atlas Chief Pilot in JFK, Capt Sikorski?

9th May 2000, 02:30
Beware, Capt Sikorski is not a Captain of anything any more, he is an FE that is doing office work to feel important. He has NEVER been the Chief Pilot. Call him Captain if your looking for him to hire you.

9th May 2000, 04:46
Please put yr email addr in yr profile. Pprune contributors are suspicious of FNGs who play the anonymous game
(edited spelling)

rgds Rat

[This message has been edited by CargoRat (edited 09 May 2000).]

9th May 2000, 05:15
Whale Driver is essentially correct about Sikorski. If Whale Driver is an Atlas guy, he may be reluctant to use real name or email address lest Atlas management track him down and harrass him. Atlas are very sensitive to information, especially true information (no misinformation needed to make a point) getting out. That should tell you something!

catch 22
9th May 2000, 07:19
I understand that Mike Sikorsky retired as a captain with Atlas. Before that he had a full career with Pan Am until they went bust. To call him by the title of captain is common good manners.

Happy Jack
9th May 2000, 13:03
What's the deal then ? Has the Atlas UK operation foundered ? An unreliable source told me it was a dead duck to begin with.

9th May 2000, 15:47
Happy Jack,

Don't know if it's belly up. That would be wishful thinking on the part of many of us Atlas mainline guys. Awaiting reports from those on the scene in the UK to get an idea how it is going with AACS. Posts from Atlas guys in this and other threads have been fairly accurate in expressing our frustrations with Atlas management. Years of experiencing broken promises and worsening working condtions drove us to ALPA. Guess we all feel like AACS UK is another betrayal since contract for us was designed to be so poor that none or few of us of us would go across to the STN operation. Frustrating to watch on as Atlas seeks to use another group of pilots against us. I think most of us can swallow using Brits or EU passport holders to fly for BA, but carving out portions of Emirates and Malaysian contracts is going too far and clearly a step designed to antagonize the union.

Anyone over there actually made contact with AACS?

11th May 2000, 18:05
One of the purposes of AACS is obviously to try and bust the Atlas pilot's union. By creating a wholly owned subsidiary, Atlas management probably hopes to develop a crew force that is indentured by work contracts and forced to work despite legal work action by mainline Atlas crews. The potentially "strike-breaker" work contract that these foolish people would have to sign would require payback for training, hence they couldn't quit easily or cheaply. I would expect that AACS crews would be treated even worse than mainline Atlas crews are treated now. Mr. Bull's reputation preceeds him. It sounds as if he's right in sync with the Mr. Chowdry's vision of indentured servitude. You can probably look for more of the same anywhere Chowdry can find people to work for peanuts - South American, etc. Anybody stupid or foolish enough to work for AACS deserves what they get. You can be assured that the rest of Atlas crews will consider them what they will are. If you want to make yourself a pariah with the real Atlas crewmembers and want to ruin your aviation career, just do it.

12th May 2000, 09:29
Talk about the wool being pulled over the eyes. About the only BA division making money right now is CARGO. The Atlas 400's are operated jammed packed full.It's like printing your own money. Atlas are used for only 2 reasons.

1. Total operating costs far cheaper = more profit
2. No initial outlay buying freighters = more profit

BA could easily buy their own freighters and operate them at a profit BUT at the end of the day it wouldn't be as much profit as when they use Atlas. MONEY TALKS,.....

Point in hand, Citybird just dropped their 400F option. BA could pick that up at a discount but why should they if they won't make as much profit. Even Ayling knew this one.

14th May 2000, 17:10
For a while this thread seemed like it was America versus Britain. Having heard the full story, it sounds as though the American pilots are being screwed more than anyone.

catch 22
15th May 2000, 00:57
You've Got that right old chap! Your company may do the same if they find it cheaper to operate with overseas crews with no representation.

The Guvnor
16th Sep 2000, 17:10
Dug this up - and thought it might be a good idea for our Atlas friends to plough through it to see where the whole AACS situation originated.

:) Happiness is a warm L1011 :)

Ai Start
14th Feb 2001, 18:54
Zones and CargoRat,
So if Cargorat is Cargolux or SGC/Panalpina, Zones would be an Ex Southern Air Transport fella? Small world isn't? How many beers have we had toghether? What about Atlas' empire since the sad loss of MC? What do you forecats?

[email protected]

Air Start

Beaver Driver
14th Feb 2001, 20:47
Well lets see.

130 hired since August. Seems like the only people that actually applied to Atlas (except for a very small minority of retired-BA Captains) are either VERY unqualified or VERY inexperienced. Sim time is at a premium as Atlas instructors are having to devote too much time to these guys. Less than 60 fully trained. Atlas have had to change policy since so many failed the sim check. Now they will only give 8 sims....prior to AACS they trained to proficiency. Already had 2 incidents with AACS guys due to inexperience. Rumors say that Atlas has had to pay some INS fines. This venture has been a huge drain on Atlas' budget. Congress is involved and the courts are moving on a lawsuit. Seems like this experiment has failed. I wish all AACS guys good luck. You should have looked before you leaped.

15th Feb 2001, 19:04
Beaver Driver-
Interesting about all the failures and extended training of the AACS recruits. Saw that coming. What incidents have AACS crews been involved in? Also, with mainline training at a virtual standstill trying to train the replacement workers, what's been the attrition, especially of F/Os?? Sounds like management has Atlas in increasingly steep descent.

Blue & White
16th Feb 2001, 01:13
Hey Roadtrip,
How are you guys liking the East Coast? I guess it was good we left the last company, things sure aren't looking too promising.
Poor AACS guys (SCABS), couldn't happen to a more deserving group. I hope the mainland guys come out okay.

22nd Jun 2001, 01:30
BA have backed another winner in GSS - First GO now GSS - is there no end to their talents?

22nd Jun 2001, 02:08
This thread still exists??? Perhaps one of the more interesting threads we've had in recent times.
And no I'm bloody well not SGC as insinuated above.
Although the subject has been beaten to death, with most opinions catered for, we can always continue the discussion (fight?) on Freight Dogs.

rgds Rat

Beaver Driver
22nd Jun 2001, 18:21
I agree interesting dialog. I wonder how this news article sits with the gov. Seems the hang up with open skies is not with the US. Read on Mcduff....

NEW YORK, June 21 (Reuters) - Three major U.S. airlines on Wednesday called on federal aviation officials to negotiate an "open skies'' deal between the U.S. and Britain that guarantees smaller U.S. carriers more access to the British market.

Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE :)AL - news), Continental Airlines (NYSE:CAL - news) and Northwest Airlines (NasdaqNM:NWAC - news) said they wrote to U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta warning that an unconditional agreement would allow AMR Corp.'s American Airlines (NYSE:AMR - news) and British Airways (quote from Yahoo! UK & Ireland: BAY.L) to dominate trans-Atlantic routes.

In their letter, the three U.S. carriers said without more access for other airlines to landing slots, services and facilities at London's Heathrow Airport, a bilateral agreement to liberalize cross-Atlantic air traffic would only crimp competition.

Earlier this month British Airways held talks with U.S. officials on what the airline industry viewed as an attempt to garner support for a stronger alliance with American Airlines, the world's largest airline.

"The two most dominant airlines in the U.S.-U.K. market now seek to create the most powerful and anti-competitive alliance in international aviation history,'' the letter to Secretary Mineta stated.

"Unless the department takes decisive steps to ensure significant access at London's Heathrow Airport, open skies between the U.S. and the U.K. will damage competition and harm U.S. consumers,'' the letter said.

The United States and Britain will hold informal talks on liberalizing air travel later this month.

Mineta met earlier this month with executives from American Airlines and British Airways as they sounded out the prospects of U.S. support for deepening their commercial alliance. The Clinton administration blocked a similar proposal in 1999.

The United States has been pushing for an "open skies'' agreement with Britain, which apparently has resisted because it would undercut the strong position of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways at Heathrow.

22nd Jun 2001, 20:26
How about this ShotOne;

Airtours have two Canadian registered A320's from Skyservice operating in the UK during the summer months. When the A320's go home in winter, the crews continue in the UK and operate a Skyservice A330 on long haul routes for Airtours.

A Skyservice Captain gets paid a loss less - $82,000 Canadian, about £38,000 at last count, versus about £60,000 for an Airtours Capt. Airtours provide houses and hire cars in the UK for the Canadian crews and they also pay them a daily allowance. The Canadian crews do not pay UK tax.

Airtours plan to operate two more Skyservice A320's in the UK next summer, bringing the total to four for summer 2002.