Atlas Air (5Y, New York JFK) launched transpacific operations on behalf of cargo forwarder Flexport on July 8, 2019, and since August 25 has been deploying a dedicated B747-400(F), Cargo Facts has reported.

Atlas Air replaced Western Global Airlines (KD, Fort Myers Southwest Florida) on the route. The contract was facilitated by Plus Logistics Solutions, a subsidiary of NCA - Nippon Cargo Airlines (KZ, Tokyo Narita).

The contract with Western Global Airlines was originally due to last through 2021. Flexport terminated it earlier this year, citing poor reliability. It also filed a lawsuit against the cargo specialist. Western Global challenges the charges, saying that none of the delays was due to controllable factors.

While Western Global Airlines deployed a B747-400(BCF) on its services on behalf of Flexport, Atlas Air uses a B747-400(FSCD) with a 10-ton higher payload. Atlas Air initially operated them with N404KZ (msn 34283), but then dedicated N508KZ (msn 36135) to the Flexport contract. The aircraft was repainted in the forwarder's livery and will be deployed on services from Hong Kong Int'l to Chicago O'Hare and Los Angeles Int'l, via either Anchorage Ted Stevens or Honolulu.

N508KZ is one of B747 freighters operated by Atlas Air on behalf of Nippon Cargo Airlines under a CMI lease. The unit was reactivated from storage on June 10, 2019, and ferried from Victorville via Los Angeles Int'l to Taipei Taoyuan. It then flew to Amarillo on August 6, 2019, and entered into revenue service on August 24, Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows.

In total, Atlas Air operates five NCA-owned B747-400(F)s on behalf of the Japanese carrier and its clients.