Atlas Air Celebrates Delivery of First of Four New Boeing 777-200 Freighters

Representatives from Boeing, Atlas and MSC participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Atlas recently welcomed the first of four new Boeing 777-200 Freighters at a special celebration at Boeing’s headquarters in Seattle. Atlas Air will operate this aircraft on behalf of our customer MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA, as part of a previously announced long-term ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance, insurance) agreement.

John Dietrich stepped up to the podium at the event celebrating the delivery and shared what an honor it is for Atlas to partner with MSC, the world’s largest shipping company, as they enter into the world of air cargo.

“This is the first of four 777s Atlas is taking for MSC Air Cargo,” said John. “We are committed to ensuring MSC Air Cargo is successful, and in turn that Atlas and MSC are successful together.”

Michael Steen, who was also onsite for the delivery stressed the importance of teamwork between Atlas, MSC and Boeing.

“This is a strategic partnership and the first time that MSC is moving into air cargo. We are excited to be a part of that process and look forward to continuing to grow our partnership.”

The 777-200 Freighter will complement MSC’s world-class container shipping solutions and expand service to key trade lanes for various industries, including those which traditionally have significant air cargo transportation needs.

The first of four B777-200Fs for MSC takes to the skies.

With an established history of twin-engine efficiency, reduced fuel consumption, and lower maintenance and operating costs, the 777 is the longest-range twin-engine freighter in the world, capable of flying 4,880 nautical miles (9,038 kilometers). The 777-200F also meets quota count standards for maximum accessibility to noise‑sensitive airports around the globe.

“We are delighted to see the first of our MSC-branded aircraft take to the skies and we are looking forward to begin serving the market with our new Air Cargo solution,” said Jannie Davel, Senior Vice President Air Cargo at MSC. “We believe that MSC Air Cargo is developing a solid foundation, thanks to the reliable, ongoing support of our operating partner, Atlas.”

For more information on the delivery, please click here.

Representatives from Boeing, Atlas, K+N and K+N’s customer, Google, participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The second to the last of the 747-8Fs ever to be produced by Boeing took center stage last week at a special ribbon cutting ceremony with Atlas’ customer, Kuehne+Nagel. Hosted at the Boeing Everett Delivery Center in Seattle, the event was attended by over 70 executives from Boeing, Atlas, Kuehne+Nagel and their customers.

The ceremonial “keys” to the Boeing 747-8F, named ‘Inspire.’, were presented by John Dietrich and Michael Steen to Yngve Ruud, Executive Vice President, Air Logistics at Kuehne+Nagel, to mark the expanded partnership between Atlas Air and Kuhne+Nagel.

“We couldn’t be more delighted to share this day with you to give Kuehne+Nagel the last two 747s that are ever going to be built,” said John. “The focus for Atlas is to be sure that we contribute to your success and to take this venture to the next level with another great service offering from Kuehne+Nagel. Our commitment is to your success, and that of your customers. Thank you for putting your trust in us to get to this moment.”

“At the end of day, this is a collaboration and a team effort. Atlas is a strong believer in building strategic relationships with our customers in order to provide the best transportation we can, as well as invest in their respective supply chains,” said Michael. “One such investment is the joint effort that we – Atlas and Kuehne+Nagel – are going to make, is to the environment and a sustainable operation. You have Atlas’ commitment to continue to work with Kuehne+Nagel, and of course your customers as well, to make this a tremendous success.”

“This is a big day. For our team, this is probably the day that we’ve been looking forward to the longest,” said Yngve. “If you look at the plane, and the name ‘Inspire.’, you see the commitment that we are giving today to serve our customer and to make sure our industry is evolving.”

The Kuehne+Nagel 747-8F “Inspire.”

Attendees also enjoyed a special factory tour and a private visit inside the aircraft.  Many of the guests remarked that one of the highlights of their day was meeting the Atlas 747 crewmembers: Tom Vize, 747 Fleet Captain and Designated Examiner, Joe Masone, 747 Captain and Designated Examiner and Roberto Meneghini, 747 Captain and Designated Examiner. The pilots shared their enthusiasm for the newest 747 arrival and answered questions from our guests.

The aircraft, which Atlas Air will operate for Kuehne+Nagel under a long-term, dedicated charter agreement, was officially delivered today, November 22.

For more information on the delivery, please click here.

First Officer Karen Gerharter-Goodman.

When the Flight Path Museum at LAX asked Atlas First Officer Karen Gerharter-Goodman to lead a program that provides young people with a chance to explore the first steps toward a potential career in aviation, her answer was an enthusiastic “yes.”

Karen had been fine-tuning her own idea for a project to encourage would-be pilots. She was especially driven to show young women with dreams of flying that aviation careers are open to them. 

The Flight Path Flyers program, which features an introduction to flight training, has the same goal. It aims to draw young women as well as others from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented among the pilot ranks.

Karen is motivated by the memory of her 99-year-old mother-in-law, who was fascinated by aircraft and flight but, like other women of her generation, never had an opportunity to pursue her passion for aviation.

In 2011, soon after Karen earned her 747-type rating, she was scheduled for a tour of a cargo 747, and she invited her mother-in-law, who was 88 at the time, to come along.

“She came with me – climbing up the stairs and everything. She was so thrilled to be walking onto this 747 and seeing the immensity of the plane and the controls on the flight deck,” said Karen, who joined Atlas in January 2019. “She was just amazed and in awe for years afterward, up until she died this past July. She always remembered going on that plane and what a remarkable experience it was.”

So, for nine weeks which began Oct. 15, Karen honors her mother-in-law by spending her Saturday mornings encouraging those who might not otherwise be able to imagine themselves in a cockpit.

“I want to say to them, ‘Look, this is attainable. It is a viable career’,” said Karen, who wanted to be an astronaut before she decided to pursue her career as a commercial airline pilot. “It is a lot of fun if you are willing to put the work in.”

This session of the Flight Path Flyers program, which has nine participants ranging in age from 13 to 21, represents the program’s relaunch following a hiatus during the pandemic.

Karen designed the program’s curriculum, and she intends to invite colleagues to speak to the class about other areas of the aviation industry, including Maintenance/Mechanics and Air Traffic Control, she said.

The classes do not include flying lessons. But, according to the Flight Path Museum, graduates from previous cohorts of the program have gone on to complete flight instruction and earn their pilot licenses.

The Flight Path Museum LAX is located in the airport’s former Imperial Terminal and features exhibits, including those dedicated to commercial aviation history and space exploration as well as a collection of flight crew uniforms. Learn more about the museum and its exhibits and programs here.

Here at Atlas, we are honored to serve the U.S. military as the largest provider of their passenger and cargo airlift and are proud to count so many of our colleagues as veterans. Today, we shine a spotlight on a few of our veteran colleagues and their contributions the U.S. Armed Forces as part of the ongoing Atlas Salute to Service series.

Megan Matthews, Senior Passenger Service Representative (SPSR). Atlas Employee since 2018.

Megan Matthews.

Coming from a military family inspired Megan to serve. On one side of her family was her grandfather, who served in the Marines and on the other side were her grandfather and grandmother who met while both were in the Army.

Megan enlisted in the Air Force as a junior in high school and left for basic training only 12 days after graduation. Her rank was Senior Airman and her job was a C-17 Loadmaster with the 6th Airlift Squadron (6AS), stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. Megan served from 2007 to 2013.

“Serving as a Loadmaster in the military exposed me to the type of work I currently do with Atlas as a SPSR,” said Megan. “Additionally, the military helped developed my skills in leadership, adaptability and work ethic that I strive to use every day to ensure the success of every Atlas flight.”

During her time in the Air Force, Megan had the opportunity to fly combat missions, earning air medals for Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation New Dawn. She is proud that she was able to airlift millions of pounds of essential equipment to troops on the ground.

“I appreciate the opportunities and support given to veterans and those who continue their military service here at Atlas,” said Megan. “It can be difficult for veterans to transition back to civilian life, and I appreciate that Atlas is committed to helping us establish new careers in this next chapter.”

Jo Houston, Quality Assurance Auditor/Ramp Maintenance. Atlas Employee since 2020.

Jo Houston.

Jo Houston served as a Petty Officer, Second Class in the United States Naval Reserve from 2001 to 2010, stationed at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (JRB) in Belle Chasse Louisiana and Andrews Air Force Base, Camp Springs, Maryland.

Jo’s interest in joining the military comes from growing up in a family where “service is stressed.” Her mother was a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy, and she has many uncles, cousins and aunts who have served and retired from the Army.

“Being a part of the military taught me how to function independently and as a member of a collective,” said Jo. “I think a good deal of my deductive reasoning is due to my military training. I learned to lead with skill and not force or fear, which makes me an effective auditor. I have found that most people want to work with me and know that any issues disclosed during an audit will not be met with judgment and punishment.”

Jo’s proudest moment happened during an extraction mission when she was working for the military as a civilian.

“As a part of Special Forces, it gave me pride to know that I was helping our members during some of their most trying times,” said Jo. “My proudest memories on duty were meeting General Colin Power when he was Secretary of Defense and George and Laura Bush as President and First Lady.”

Jo says it makes her happy to know she works with so many veterans. “We swap stories and draw on career experiences to help us with our daily routines. I’m proud of the fact that Atlas moves the military and provides a career path for so many after they transition from the military.”

Silas Simone, 747 Captain. Atlas Employee since 2015.

Major Silas Simone began his military career in 2001 as an F-16 crew chief in the Minnesota and Ohio Air National Guard (ANG). He was commissioned through the Academy of Military Science (AMS). He was also a C-130 pilot during his time in the military.

Captain Silas Simone.

His flying assignments included the Alaska and Delaware ANG, and his staff assignment was at the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. in Air Operations as a mobility airlift programmer, and then as a tactical airlift functional manager.

During his military career, Major Simone supported numerous flying deployments, including Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Inherent Resolve.

Major Simone comes from a family with strong military ties. His wife is an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and is currently serving as a force support squadron commander. Additionally, his father was in the Army, and his grandfather was in the Navy.

“The inherent discipline and training rigor I developed over my 20-year military career has transferred into my civilian career quite well,” said Major Simone. “International travel, deployments, long days and extensive studying of this craft has set me up for success as an International Part 121 Pilot, along with the professionalism and high demands this job requires.”

Major Simone said that his most memorable moments are always the return from deployments when he can embrace his wife and kids. His proudest moment was providing humanitarian efforts to refugees from war-torn countries through C-130 Airdrops.

“The direct human impact at the time was raw and visible, and we knew that at least for that moment we helped,” said Major Simone, who retired from the military on January 1, 2022.

Speaking about how Atlas employs so many members of the military, Major Simone says, “It shows that the Company values service members and what kind of human capital, skills, leadership and dedication service members can bring to Atlas to further advance its workforce.”

Victor Andres Castillo, Training Records Administrator. Atlas Employee since 2022.

Although he has only been with Atlas for eight months, Victor feels like he has been with the Company for years via his military career.

“Being on deployments and/or other military orders, Atlas Air was my main means of transportation taking us from base to base,” said Victor. “The customer service experience from both the pilots and the ground crew made for a remarkable experience.”

In July 2010, Victor enlisted in the Security Forces (Military Police), where he served for ten years. He shared that being part of the military greatly helped him with

Victor Castillo.

his career at Atlas. Through the military, he was able to build his character — becoming resilient, loyal, adaptable — and find ways to both identify and solve problems, all skills that have helped him in his current position.

“Military training builds strong character, providing tools to show empathy toward others, push through adversity and commit to the mission of the organization.”

Victor has many memorable moments from proudly serving his country. While “some are good, some are bad and some are in-between,” Victor said. “Serving in the Armed Forces has been a privilege and honor. It is the greatest feeling in the world to have served, and I have no regrets.”

Accomplishing Basic Military Training (BMT) and Tech School was his most memorable, challenging and rewarding experience.

“I enlisted in the Armed Forces later than most, and my fellow trainees jokingly referred to me as ‘grandpa.’ All the other trainees were in their late teens and they looked up to me. I was their inspiration, their shoulder to cry on or a fellow trainee who always had their back. It was tough to withstand Physical Training (PT) not being in as good shape as the teenagers. However, because of my determination, resiliency and the ability to endure pain, I finished within the top five of my class and won the outstanding performance award.

“Atlas Air has given me an opportunity to share my life and background with my team members and the organization,” said Victor. “It is an honor to be part of a well-rounded organization, showing commitment and pride for our employees who wear and have worn the uniform. It is an honor to be part of the Atlas Air team!”

Carleen A. Ybarra, Director Employee Relations & Work Force Solutions. Atlas Employee since 2021.

Carleen Ybarra.

Carleen has been in the US Army Reserves since 1997 and presently serves as the Command Sergeant Major for a drill sergeant unit. In 2000, she deployed to Kosovo in support of NATO’s peacekeeping mission. In 2004, she deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and took part in multiple training missions.

Carleen is a first generation American and the first generation of her family to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces and did so along with her cousin.

“We set the standard for the next generation of our family,” said Carleen. “There are now six members of my family who are currently serving or have proudly served.”

Carleen shares that the Army’s values, which include loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage, are paramount in her role in Human Resources.

“By embodying these core values, I can execute my job for Atlas without moral or personal conflict. Both my leader and the Company expect the same out of me,” said Carleen.

When reflecting on her military career, Carleen said that she feels many moments of pride including seeing soldiers that she has coached, mentored and developed receive promotions.

She also refers to other proud moments, which happened while she was stationed overseas.

“A couple of years into my enlistment, I deployed to Kosovo shortly after the NATO bombing campaign,” said Carleen. “As a civil affairs operator, I was able to directly impact the rebuilding of the city of Urosevac/Ferizaj coordinating and supporting humanitarian assistance relief efforts and helping with the reconstruction of schools and other government-run infrastructure.”

One of Carleen’s greatest feelings of personal accomplishment, and her proudest moment as an American soldier, was the impact she had on the Albanian, Serbian and Gypsy women.

“These women saw me, a woman with a job, authorityand freedom of speech and movement,” said Carleen. “I will never forget how excited they were (as was I) to witness that. Before my tour ended these women were learning how to drive.”

About working at Atlas, Carleen shares a memory from her time in the Armed Forces.

“I am proud to work for a company that supports our military,” said Carleen. “I remember the many trips that I took to Green Ramp at Pope Air Force Base at the onset of the War on Terror and seeing my friends board Atlas Air planes. Sometimes it is lost on the average American the service and sacrifice that service members make every day.  When companies such as ours stand up for and stand by those who serve, it sends a message to the rest of our country that we will not be forgotten.  Working here and supporting the mission of our airline feels as though I’m giving back.”

A significant source of pride for Atlas employees is the chance to make an impact in their jobs. Sometimes, that impact exceeds expectations.

Recently, colleagues at the March Air Reserve Base (RIV) in Riverside County, California helped support Amazon’s mission to fight childhood cancer.

Every September as part of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Amazon partners with the American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) to help raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research. Through its Amazon Goes Gold for Kids with Cancer campaign, young children battling cancer can participate in a number of activities and events throughout the month. A gold ribbon is the universal symbol for childhood cancer.

(L-R) Alejandro Guzman, Andrea Espino and Ray Earls

Atlas’ Maintenance Manager, Ray Earls, along with Station Supervisors Andrea Espino and Alejandro Guzman, supported Amazon’s efforts by giving a young girl battling leukemia and her family a tour of the RIV warehouse and the flight deck of a 737.

This child is going through something unimaginable,” said Ray. “It was important for all of us to give her and her family an opportunity to enjoy themselves and perhaps take their minds off of her diagnosis for a moment.”

“We applaud Amazon’s efforts to give back to the community and support the fight against childhood cancer,” said both Andrea and Alejandro. “We’re very grateful that Atlas can join in to help make a difference.”

Participating in a day like this touched the hearts of all those on site, but for Ray, the significance of this event hits very close to home.

“This was an emotional day for me, because my wife is currently battling breast cancer,” he said. “I’ve had a front row seat to the fight against cancer, so the opportunity to help do something fun for this family during this challenging time was incredible.”

Ray notes the impact that a day like this can have on a child battling cancer.

“This is a day she will never forget, and I promise you, when we were up in that airplane, she wasn’t thinking about being sick. That’s gold.”