ATA Airlines has acquired two cargo and charter carriers, World Airways and North American Airlines, for $31 million in cash.

ATA, which operates scheduled low-cost as well as charter services, will bring North American and World into a privately held group to be dubbed Global Aero Logistics. Indianapolis-based ATA says it will continue operating codeshare flights in co-ordination with Southwest Airlines as well as its passenger charter service. ATA began codesharing with Southwest in early 2005 and last year Southwest began selling ATA tickets on its website.

ATA's parent company, under the new Global Aero name, will operate World's fleet of 17 widebodies in cargo and military charter service, as well as North American's 10 aircraft in passenger charter and limited schedule service. The three carriers will retain their identities and be operated independently.

World Air Holdings, which acquired North American in 2005, has been battling poor financial performance for several years. Last September it initiated a strategic review and appointed a financial adviser to examine options for the company's future, including mergers or the possible sale to a partner. The review concluded that a sale should be considered.

Source: Flight International