Atlas Air has reached a long-term commercial arrangement with Angolan carrier SonAir to operate an outsourced premium passenger private charter service for the US-Africa Energy Association (USAEA).

Under the terms of the agreement, Atlas will operate the charter service with two newly customized Boeing 747-400 aircraft provided by SonAir`s parent company Sonangol Group, the multinational energy company of Angola and a member of the USAEA.

These aircraft are being reconfigured into largely business and executive class configuration.

Known as the "Houston Express", the charter service to be operated by Atlas includes three dedicated weekly non-stop flights between Houston and Luanda, Angola.

SonAir previously contracted US wet-lease carrier World Airways to operate Boeing MD-11 flights on the route.

While the charter service is not open to the public, it provides USAEA members with a premium non-stop transportation link to support long-term projects in the West African energy sector.

Atlas says the parties have structured the arrangement in a manner consistent with the outsourcing business model under which Atlas Air typically operates. Under that model, Atlas receives contractually determined revenues for the operation of the aircraft, with the customer assuming responsibility for passenger revenue and certain direct costs, including fuel.

Specific financial terms of the agreement have not been released.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news