What happened?

Shares of Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (ATSG -0.16%), a leading provider of air-cargo transportation and related services, were jumping 17% by 1 p.m. EDT Thursday, after the company posted strong growth during the first quarter.

So what

Revenue jumped a healthy 34%, compared to the prior year, to $237.9 million, which was much higher than analysts' consensus estimates calling for $215.3 million. The company's net income increased to $9.8 million, or $0.13 per share, but when adjusted for special items jumped to $11.2 million, or $0.17 per share. That result was much healthier than analyst estimates of $0.12 per share.

Said Joe Hete, president and CEO of ATSG, in a press release:

Forty-three of our Boeing 767s were dry leased to external customers at the end of the first quarter, compared with 29 a year earlier. Our leasing business revenues from external customers increased 7 percent for the quarter, and we expect accelerating growth in that segment as the year progresses.

Cargo being loaded onto a cargo airplane

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

The company continues to generate improved profitability in its airline operations as well as its maintenance and logistic segments. Those factors set the stage for ATSG to continue delivering strong earnings and cash flow throughout 2017, especially as global e-commerce companies need to ship goods faster and more efficiently. ATSG anticipates its 2017 adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) to top $260 million, and if its fleet expansion is managed well, that should position the company well for the near term.