PHOTO: Atlas Air.

MIAMI – Atlas Air (5Y) has refused to heed calls from members of the US Congress and some members of the public to repay US$406m in COVID-19 bailout funds.

The primary reason given by those who want the funds repaid is the fact that cargo carriers have done well as a result of the pandemic, with many passenger planes with cargo hold space now grounded.

The airline has reported an eightfold increase in adjusted net income along with 25% more revenue in the third quarter compared to the previous year.

Atlas Air Boeing 767-300ER reg: N649GT Photo: Marco Macca – @aviator_ita

Justified Funds

Atlas Air CEO John Dietrich recalled the circumstances faced by the carrier at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, including “a tremendous amount of uncertainty [with] China effectively shut down”.

It must also be noted that there are no official reasons for 5Y to repay the funds, which were by no means need-based and paled in comparison to funds received by the passenger carriers who were truly hit hard by the pandemic.

The carrier has additionally managed to renew a contract to train Air Force One pilots along with securing a deal with Cainiao Smart Logistics Network to further transport goods for Alibaba.

Dietrich further added “we are not intending to return the funds, and we responded accordingly and have been in full compliance”, 5Y while having received aid has no reason to pay it back.

Featuted image: Atlas Air