Polar Air Cargo Worldwide, Inc., is an American cargo airline based in Purchase, Harrison, New York, U.S. It operates scheduled all-cargo services to North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Its main base is Anchorage International Airport, Alaska, with hubs at Los Angeles International Airport, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and Incheon International Airport near Seoul, South Korea.
A Polar Air Cargo Boeing 767-300ERF in full DHL Express colours. (2013)
Polar was formed in 1993 as a joint venture between Southern Air Transport and GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). It started operations in June 1993 and began with charter flights, later adding scheduled services. During 1994, Polar was certified as a supplemental air carrier by the Federal Aviation Administration and on 4 July 1994 as a US all-cargo carrier by the United States Department of Transportation. After several years of continued growth, the remainder of the company was acquired by GECAS.
In November 2001, Polar was acquired by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW), whose Atlas Air subsidiary is a leading provider of ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance) freighter leasing. Polar became the scheduled service provider for AAWW, while Atlas continued to supply Boeing 747 freighters on a wet-lease basis to major airlines. In October 2006, it was announced that DHL Express would be acquiring a 49% stake in Polar, with that deal now finalised. Polar is still majority-owned by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (51%), and has 736 employees (as of March 2007).
Polar provides scheduled freight service covering the transpacific, transatlantic, trans-Asia, and Middle East markets. Polar offers frequent flights to China, connecting Shanghai to Anchorage, Chicago, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and multiple points in Asia and Europe, e.g., Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany.
Polar also offers its customers charter freight services, using its dedicated fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft. This includes both special handling and time-limited shipments. For example, Polar has shipped horses, cattle, race cars and helicopters across the Atlantic; critically needed supplies to Tsunami victims; and the rock band Green Day’s musical equipment from one tightly scheduled performance in Glasgow to another at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Polar and its sister company, Atlas, also do extensive work for the U.S. Air Force’s Air Mobility Command (AMC).
Polar Air Cargo Fleet
Aircraft In Fleet Orders Passengers
Boeing 747-400F 7 — 1 operated by Atlas Air
4 operating for DHL Express
Boeing 747-8F 4 — Operated by Atlas Air
Boeing 767-300ERF 2 — Operated by Atlas Air
Operating for DHL Express
Total 13 —
2005 Winner of the prestigious Air Cargo Excellence (ACE) Award in the Air Cargo Charter category. The ACE Awards are presented based on a survey of 20,000 members of the airline and freight forwarding industries in which the members rate air carrier service providers in the areas of Performance, Customer Service, Value, Information Technology and Overall Quality.