Atlas Collaboration Shores Up Shoring Material, Reduces Waste

Reducing resource consumption is one of Atlas’ environment, social and governance (ESG) priorities.

Just two short years ago, Atlas Air Miami Ground Operations Station Manager Arian Castellanos estimates he was ordering new shoring material every one-to-two months. The material, made of various woods and strong structures, is used to support cargo on Unit Load Devices (ULDs) that are placed on Atlas planes in Miami to travel through the South America service network.

shoring materials support heavy-duty equipment

Shoring materials are used to support the heavy-duty equipment that Atlas carriers on its freighters, including electric power generators.

Arian saw an opportunity to reduce waste related to used shoring material. In 2019, he worked with his local team and colleagues across the company to implement an enhanced tracking and inventory system to ensure the shoring material would be used more effectively and efficiently.

“Over the past two years, we’ve implemented checks and balances to better control and extend the life of shoring material,” said Arian. “Now we order new material once every six-to-seven months, a significant reduction from the prior one-to-two months. It’s a win-win for us. Not only are we reducing our dependency on these materials, but this initiative is also helping us keep our costs down.”

shoring material and machinery parts

Machinery parts placed on shoring material are being prepared to be loaded on an Atlas Air 747.

Bob Kiss, who leads Ground Operations for Atlas Air, believes the success of shoring material waste reduction will lead to more sustainable projects by the Company.

“We are always looking for ways to promote sustainable business practices and operate in a more environmentally-friendly manner,” Bob said. “This project is a great example of a small team working together to make an enormous impact on the business. I’m proud of them and grateful we work in an environment with a Company that encourages these initiatives.”

For more information about Atlas’ commitment to ESG priorities, view the 2020 Atlas Air ESG Report.

As summer vacation got into full swing at schools across the U.S., middle and high school aviation enthusiasts signed up to attend one more week of classes though ACE (Aviation Careers Education) Academy.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the oversight organization encompassing Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Van Nuys Airport (VNY), convenes ACE Academy annually for students interested in learning about careers across the aviation industry.

Typically an in-person, week-long event with classroom sessions and field trips to the Airport Operations Area (AOA), this was the second year ACE Academy was run virtually – and the first time ever that air cargo was included in the lineup.

“Facilitating the LAX ACE Academy virtually allowed our team to introduce aviation industry careers to a broader geographical range of middle and high school students who might otherwise not have a chance to learn of the variety of careers within the field. Aviation leaders were able to engage in dialogue with students from our local communities, as well as other parts of the country,” said Amy Imamura, LAX Community Relations Director, who oversees the event.

“We were absolutely thrilled to add air cargo to the agenda this year,” Amy continued. “It opened up an entirely new path for students to consider, and the Atlas and Polar speakers inspired such good discussion and questions among the students.”

Atlas and Polar developed a program about the vast breadth of air cargo careers, including a panel featuring Air Cargo experts in Ground Ops, Tech Ops, Station Management and Business Development. In addition, a video full of career advice was shared with the students from Atlas and Polar employees in roles from 767 Captain to Systems Operations & Training and Commercial Operations around the world. The speakers shared their professional background, what they love about the aviation industry and some advice for the students about pursuing a career in aviation.

A common thread across each of the speakers’ remarks was that no two days are ever the same; the fast-paced dynamic airfreight environment presents many opportunities; and students should be open to trying new things.

Atlas and Polar Team Members Speak with ACE Academy Students

Advice and career observations shared included:

“My one piece of advice for you would be to study hard, stick with the books and get good grades, and maybe one day you’ll be up here with us, flying around the world to different destinations”
Atlas 767 Captain Justin Lagotic

“If you ask what my typical day is, I would say – and I think all of us today would agree – no two days are ever alike, and that’s part of what I love. I really applaud the students here today because they are already exploring the field of aviation. Keep trying new things until you find what you love to do and then it’s not work – it’s an adventure.”
Atlas Vice President of Ground Operations Jeff Riddel

“I love problem solving, whether its engineering problems, technical issues or just business problems, I love the challenge of coming up with solutions… that next thing that keeps me energized and going. Love what you do and if it’s problem solving, great. If it’s flying at high altitudes, wonderful. Whatever it is, there are opportunities that will find you.”
Atlas Senior Vice President of Tech Ops Lillian Dukes

“As a woman in the air cargo field, I’ve had an interesting journey. There are more women now than there have ever been. Inclusive teams bring new and creative thinking to our industry. My advice to you all is no matter what you are doing, ask lots of questions, speak up, share your ideas and push yourself a little bit out of your comfort zone – that’s when opportunities open up.”
Polar Director of Sales Carrie Lau

160 students from grades 6 through 12 were online and engaged with the Atlas and Polar speakers during the session.

“It was great to expose these students to so many interesting aspects of the air cargo industry,” said Polar Sales Director Eddie Nagahashi, who moderated the virtual panel. “I’m so glad we had the chance to collaborate across Polar and Atlas on this initiative, and I hope we can do it again next year!”

Titan PlaneAirline Economics, the publication dedicated to the commercial aviation finance and leasing industry recently announced the winners of its tenth anniversary Aviation 100 Deals of the Year Awards 2021.

Titan Aircraft Investments Ltd., a joint venture of Titan Aviation Holdings, Inc. subsidiary and Bain Capital Credit, won “Freighter Finance Deal of the Year” for its US $300 million warehouse financing agreement with a subsidiary of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), a global institutional investor, and BNP Paribas as joint lead arrangers and lenders. The warehouse facility provides debt capital to finance the acquisition of freighter aircraft leases by Titan Aircraft Investments. The deal was announced jointly in November 2020.

“We are grateful for this award and industry recognition as we continue expanding our asset portfolio,” said Michael Steen, Chief Commercial Officer of Atlas Air Worldwide and President and Chief Executive Officer of Titan Aviation Holdings.

“Judging the Aviation 100 Deals of the Year awards is always a challenge,” said Victoria Tozer-Pennington, editor and co-founder of Airline Economics. “But this year has been much more difficult due to the sheer volume of aviation finance transactions closed in 2020 as airlines and lessors found ever-more innovative ways of raising much-needed liquidity in a stressed environment. The deals we have selected in our annual awards reflect the hard work and creativity of the aviation finance community.”

To see the full list, click here.

How did you get involved in aviation and when did you decide to pursue it as a career?

I was born in Nicaragua, and my father used to take my mom and me to the airport on Sunday afternoons to watch planes take off and land. My father always dreamed of becoming a pilot; he joined the military hoping to fly, due to certain medical restrictions he became a serviceman instead.

Henry LopezWe left Nicaragua when I was six years old to come to the United States, moving to the San Francisco Bay area. After high school, I joined the Navy. When I left the military, I began working at Oakland International Airport as a ticket agent for American Airlines. During that time, I met a lot of the flight crews. I always thought I had to go into the military in order to fly, but the flight crews told me that was not the case and encouraged me to become a pilot as a civilian by taking flying lessons. I worked at American Airlines for seven years and during that time I was able to complete all of my required training to become a pilot.

My first few jobs were flying for private charter and corporate companies. I also flew for an air ambulance, carrying injured and sick people to hospitals.

At the suggestion of my friend, Atlas Captain Kurt Hayes, I joined Atlas in 2015 and have been here ever since. It was the best career move of my life. It has really improved work-life balance. At my last few jobs, I was always on call; here I have a set schedule and I know when I will be home with my family to help my kids with homework and attend their soccer games.

Most interesting cargo you’ve ever flown?

Donor organs. It was so meaningful to fly that most precious cargo when I worked previously for the air ambulance company, and to know I played a role helping save someone’s life.

What is your favorite origin point?

I like trips that began out of Hahn, Germany (HHN). We do a lot of crew swaps there for the military. The layover is very nice, and the hotel prepares great authentic meals for us like schnitzel, which I love!

What is your favorite destination?

Zaragoza, Spain. I love the food and the wine and the city itself is great at any time of year.

What is the best place to watch planes land?

Anchorage. As a pilot, when you are doing the preflight walkaround at the airport you have amazing views to see all different flights taking off and landing.

What is your favorite place to watch a sunset – in the air or on the ground?

Definitely on the ground, because you can share it with someone you love.

Henry with his family, daughter Alexia and Sofia, son Enrique and wife Tania in Miami International Airport.

Who inspires you?

My children. I have three kids, Enrique is 9, Sofia is 12 and Alexa is 13.  They inspire me every day.

What’s your favorite part of being a pilot?

The sense of freedom when you are airborne. Every day is a challenge and being challenged is a good thing because it keeps you sharp. With Atlas, you are always flying something new or doing something different.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think at 47 years old I would be a 747 Captain at Atlas Air. I attribute that success to the entire Atlas Air team and the hard work that this great pilot group has done to bring in more business. This year was challenging with the pandemic and I’m very grateful that I’m flying with this company.

As COVID-19 vaccine distribution is underway in some parts of the world, we are seeing encouraging signs of progress, however the crisis continues in certain regions where access to care and infrastructure is a challenge. We have seen this in India, where they are facing a longer road to recovery.

Woman receiving vaccine

A frequent operator in the region, Atlas has partnered with multiple customers and non-governmental organizations to support relief efforts in India, including a $55,000 donation to and Airlink, two organizations that will ensure the funds directly impact communities in dire need of support.

Our $25,000 donation to will be directed to support a local grassroots effort within India. Flexport’s technology, logistics/customs expertise and hands on support will ensure the goods swiftly reach their destination and provide immediate relief for those in need.

Atlas companies Atlas Air, Polar Air Cargo and Titan Aviation Leasing each donated $10,000 to Airlink, for a total of $30,000. Airlink is a nonprofit organization that works with aviation and logistics companies to transport relief workers and emergency supplies for reputable non-governmental organizations (NGOs) responding to rapid-onset disasters and other humanitarian crises around the world.

The donation to Airlink will support Operation Airlift India, which is transporting of urgent medical supplies, including those needed for COVID-19 testing and vaccination, as well as PPE, oxygenators and more.

Atlas has a rich history of supporting Airlink and its relief missions and the airline’s leaders are personally involved in the organization’s inspiring work.

“We are proud to support Airlink’s critical Operation Airlift India and applaud their ability to quickly respond to this humanitarian emergency,” John said. “Their life-saving aid is urgently needed at this time when India’s local health systems and medical supplies are stressed with such a sharp increase of COVID-19 cases. We value the opportunity to contribute to these critical relief efforts.”