Plans for World Air Inside Global Aero Logistics to be Worked Out

April 9, 2007
Global Aero Logistics says it will be able to match the needs of its customers with a broad range of aircraft. Once combined, the fleet will include MD-11s, DC-10s and Boeing 737s 757s and 76s.

Officials at the company buying Peachtree City-based World Air Holdings say they haven't decided whether the air charter operator will keep its headquarters or move elsewhere when the transaction is complete.

Global Aero Logistics, parent of Indianapolis-based ATA Airlines, announced Thursday it has agreed to buy World for $315 million, or $12.50 a share. The buyout is expected to close in the third quarter.

"We've been focusing on the [corporate structure] and haven't even thought about the headquarters location yet," Doug Yakola, chief financial officer at Global, said Friday. "We're building a much more diverse company with different aircraft types that will allow us to serve our customers more efficiently."

World's 300 employees in Peachtree City manage and schedule long-range military charter and international cargo flights in three-engine MD-11s and DC-10s. The company's parent also operates international passenger flights in Boeing 757s and 767s via its New York-based North American Airlines subsidiary.

Global plans to offer commercial and military charters, scheduled passenger service and international air cargo flights using a fleet that includes 737s, 757s, 767s, DC-10s and MD-11s. Global says it will be able to match the needs of its customers with a broad range of aircraft.

Yakola said Global has been interested in World since World announced a "strategic review" in September that indicated it would consider a sale.

World moved to Peachtree City from suburban Washington in 2001.

World's military charter business has soared since 2003 when demand for long-range troop movements to the Middle East surged with the war in Iraq. But World's 2005 acquisition of North American stretched the company, and its operational and financial performance have suffered.

World's pilots went on strike for one week in February 2006, disrupting cargo and nonmilitary charters, and stranding planes as far away as Africa and Asia. But pilots continued flying the military charters that supplied about 70 percent of World's revenue.

Steve Forsyth, a World spokesman, said the company is performing well now with an uptick in military charters and high demand for international air cargo flights.

"The military business has picked up," he said. "Our cargo planes are fully utilized."

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