Why Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc.'s Shares Plunged

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, (NASDAQ: AAWW  ) have fallen 16% today after British Airways announced it was returning three aircraft.

So what: British Airways announced that it will exit the dedicated-cargo-freighter business and is returning three 747-8 Freighter aircraft to Global Supply Systems Limited, a subsidiary 49% owned by Atlas Air Worldwide. The aircraft will be returned in April of this year and there will also be an early termination fee paid to Global Supply Systems.  

Now what: This is a big loss for Global Supply, but if it can find another carrier to lease the aircraft then this situation could actually help the company long term. We don't know what the early termination fee will be, but if it's sizable and the aircraft quickly go back into service, then the fee will be added revenue. I don't think this is a reason to sell off Atlas Air Worldwide; given the stock's low 8.3 P/E ratio, there's a lot of upside if the company can find work for the returned aircraft.

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