Executive Messages

Message from the Chief Executive Officer

Dear Stakeholder:

At Atlas Air Worldwide, we are dedicated to safely transporting people and essential goods, facilitating international trade and enabling prosperity around the world. This is an incredible long-term value creation opportunity and one we are determined to capture through innovation, agility and staying close to the developing needs of our customers.

Our mission is to power our customers’ global supply chains – and this includes supporting our customers with their decarbonization efforts. Many of the customers we serve have set ambitious climate targets, and they have begun to develop innovative products and services for the low carbon economy. As a key supply chain partner, we hold ourselves to a higher standard in supporting these decarbonization efforts – and it is a challenge we are determined to meet.

We are pleased to share our 2023 Sustainability Report, which provides an overview of our sustainability strategy and targets, as well as the programs we have put in place to achieve our objectives. As you will read, we have begun to make solid progress across our strategic pillars: Preserve Our Planet, Care for Our People, Maximize Social Impact and Grow Responsibly.

Under our Preserve Our Planet pillar, we have stated our support for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions in aviation by 2050, and, to guide our efforts, we have set an interim target of reducing our own (Scope 1) emissions by 20% by 2035. In 2023, we also developed a comprehensive, cross-company action plan to meet our 2035 target. For example, we are piloting innovative coatings to reduce drag and fuel consumption on our planes, as well as launching initiatives to optimize flight planning to avoid carrying excessive fuel and to scale up the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Over time, we believe our decarbonization plan will not only help us reduce our own emissions but also help our customers to reduce their carbon footprint.

Our sustainability strategy includes Care for Our People, who make what we do possible. In this context, no issue is more important than our efforts to maintain the highest levels of safety across our operations. In 2023, we invested in virtual reality technologies to transform pilot safety training and made a number of enhancements to our safety reporting procedures. As a result of initiatives like these, combined with a consistent focus on employee safety across the world, the total number of injuries across our operations decreased for the third consecutive year.

In addition to our focus on safety, we are enhancing our overall employee experience. Key here is our ELEVATE program, which supports the ongoing professional development of our employees, as well as the formation of several new groups to ensure the voices of underrepresented groups are heard clearly across the organization.

Our team shares a collective commitment to Maximize Social Impact and support the communities in which we operate. Highlights include our Pathway to Success program, which offers early-career pilots the opportunity to gain experience with 737 aircraft, and the efforts of our Atlas Air Ambassadors to encourage school-aged children to develop STEM skills. As a leading provider of cargo and passenger services for the military, we were also proud to continue providing philanthropic support to several veterans’ organizations, including the K9s For Warriors organization, which is the United States’ largest provider of service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

We also made several enhancements to our sustainability governance over the past year (Grow Responsibly). A key step was the appointment of Richard Broekman as our first Head of Sustainability with board-level responsibility, in addition to his existing role as Chief Commercial Officer. This new leadership position signals our heightened focus on sustainability performance and the integral role we believe this will play in creating value for all our stakeholders, particularly our customers.

Sustainability has also been incorporated into our Board committee structure, strengthening oversight on this important subject, and into the remuneration targets of our Executive Leadership Team members. Supported by this new structure, the team will be well positioned to prepare for enhanced regulatory disclosures regarding climate risk and greenhouse gas emissions in the years ahead.

While I am proud of the work being carried out by our team across the world, the task of making our global supply chains more sustainable is not something we can achieve alone. A multi-stakeholder, collaborative effort is required, bringing together employees, customers, business partners, investors, regulators and governments – particularly in complex areas such as SAF production. Progress is being made but, given the scale of the challenges involved, much more needs to be done. We are committed to remaining at the heart of such conversations, advocating clearly for the implementation of effective long-term policies to create more sustainable supply chains.

The companies leading in sustainability aren’t merely doing the right thing; they are creating value by delivering on the very real and developing sustainability needs of all stakeholders. I am confident that Atlas will be among those companies, charting a course towards a more sustainable future for our industry and sustainably powering supply chains for the next 30 years.

Michael Steen
Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Air Worldwide

Message from the Chief Commercial Officer & Head of Sustainability

Dear Stakeholder:

In a dynamic and fast changing world, we are passionate about developing innovative solutions that meet the demand from our customers for sustainable supply chain solutions. I am incredibly proud to lead our sustainability agenda, working with dedicated colleagues across the Company to develop products and services that enhance the sustainability of our operations and those of our customers. For us, sustainability is both a moral necessity and a business imperative.

Working in partnership with our customers, we hit some positive milestones over the past year – from defining a Company-wide decarbonization plan to earning the Aviation Week Laureate Award for our work in establishing the Sustainable Engine Alliance, together with partners Kuehne+Nagel and SR Technics. I’m also proud of the partnership we have developed with our customer Inditex and fuel provider Repsol. Together, our innovative collaboration is ensuring that all Inditex flights operated by Atlas Air and departing from the Zaragoza hub in Spain are at least partially powered by SAF.

While there is a need for greater production, SAF is the most practical tool available to decarbonize the aviation sector – and the faster we scale up these kinds of commercial partnerships together, the greater we can lower emissions from both our own operations and those of our customers.

With the groundwork now well laid, we intend 2024 to be a year of acceleration in terms of our sustainability agenda. A major focus will be on developing innovative products and solutions to help our customers reduce their carbon footprint, which includes offering SAF as an option. Initiatives will also be launched to reduce emissions by optimizing aspects of our ground operations, such as scaling up the use of electric or hybrid vehicles and reducing auxiliary power unit (APU) usage.

Collaboration will be key to realizing the benefits of a sustainable supply chain in aviation. Notably, a true multi-stakeholder effort will be required to scale up SAF production. While some governments have begun to stimulate SAF production through investment incentives, such measures currently cover only 5% of the SAF market. Given the potentially game-changing nature of SAF, these programs will need to increase dramatically if the industry is to achieve the scale required. At Atlas, we are playing our part to ensure this is given the required focus by actively participating in global bodies such as IATA, as well as local initiatives such as the Kentucky Sustainable Aviation Fuel Coalition, but much more needs to be done.

As we move full speed ahead with the implementation of our sustainability strategy, we are committed to responding to the needs of our customers and broader stakeholder community. In that spirit, if you have any comments on our sustainability strategy or would like to talk about how we can help meet your climate goals, please don’t hesitate to reach out. By working together, we can have a greater impact, accelerating the transition to sustainable supply chains worldwide.

Richard Broekman
Chief Commercial Officer & Head of Sustainability, Atlas Air Worldwide

Read more about our sustainability commitments