Airline: Atlas Air
Regions of operation: Global
Fleet Size: 100-150 Aircraft
Priority: Increasing Productivity
Atlas Air transports cargo and passengers for a wide range of clients including express and e-commerce delivery providers, shippers, freight forwarders, airlines, the military, as well as charter and dry-lease customers.
It operates around 59,000 flights each year to more than 300 global destinations, has over 100 aircraft and over 4,000 employees.
"We are now able to process invoices more efficiently with a higher level of confidence on the accuracy of the charges. "
Finance Director for Ground Operations, Atlas Air
Automating airport and navigation charges
Atlas Air approached us looking for a solution that would help it manage flight-related costs more efficiently. In particular, it wanted to be able to forecast and calculate airport and navigation charges more quickly and accurately, and have a dynamic environment to validate 100% of vendor invoices electronically.
Dinesh Kumar, Finance Director for Ground Operations explains: “The growth of our business and the increase in flight frequency motivated us to look for an automated solution to manage costs.” Atlas Air was certainly growing fast —during this time, the number of aircraft it owned rose by 26% and the number of flights it operated increased by 18%. Automating processes was a necessity if the company was going to avoid a significant increase in its headcount.
Building a more bespoke solution
Atlas Air’s business was different from that of our traditional airline customers, so we needed to work with its employees closely to build a more bespoke solution.
“We were looking for a partner who would work with us to customize a system to support our business model”, says Dinesh. “The team understood our vision and welcomed the opportunity to expand our partnership. We had tremendous support from them, including continuous communication and face-to-face meetings at Atlas Air HDQ. This regular communication was critical to accomplishing the major milestones of the project.”
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Tracking all flight-related costs from one solution
Atlas Air now uses the platform to automatically import, process and report on airport and navigation events and costs, such as overflight, permit, landing, parking, lighting and taxes. It also uses the system to track fuel usage and expenditure. This means teams can get a complete picture of all flight-related costs from one solution.
Our software automatically calculates the costs based on complex pricing formulas (aircraft weight, time of day etc.) so that expenditure can be accurately calculated, monitored and validated when billed. There are clear benefits to this, as Dinesh explains: “The automated solution replaces all the manual process we utilized before. We are now able to process invoices more efficiently with a higher level of confidence on the accuracy of the charges.”
Standardizing working practices
By having all this data in one solution, Atlas Air has been able to improve communication between teams and standardize working practices. “One centralized system allows for our teams in different regions to work together utilizing the same training program and daily practices,” explains Dinesh. “There’s now one centralized system where we can access vital information such as flight records, flight plans, published IATA rates, expected calculated costs and invoice details.”
This has knock-on benefits for compliance too, giving Atlas Air greater transparency and control over its processes: “The system operates within the parameters set up by internal controls, such as separation of duty, invoice validation within set tolerances, and systematically accrues for all flights.”
"The system gives us the capacity to grow as our company grows without adding additional resources and burden."
Finance Director for Ground Operations, Atlas Air
The major benefit of the system for Atlas Air however, has been increased efficiency and productivity. As Dinesh says, “it gives us the capacity to grow as our company grows without adding additional resources and burden.”
Their figures clearly support this. Atlas Air has increased the number of hours it flies by 14%, and the number of aircraft it owns by 14% over the following five years, yet it has not needed to recruit any additional staff in the department that manages airport and navigation fees. This smarter way of working is more scalable and sustainable for the company in the long-term.
*At the time this case study was conducted the previous brand, FuelPlus, was in operation. The case study has been retrospectively updated and all original parties are still in operation at Skymetrix.
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Principal Customer Success Manager, Skymetrix