Air Atlanta Icelandic Sold

Tue Nov 05, 2002 11:03 pm

Air Atlanta Icelandic, which operates a fleet of 23 747s and 767s on ACMI leases for carriers seeking additional lift, was taken over for an undisclosed sum by Pilot Investor S.A. "This is good news for the airline and a very good deal," declared President and CEO Hafthor Hafsteinsson. "We are a $200 million business and have been looking for ways to inject more capital into the balance sheet. It will give us the security to fund expansion without losing our essential Icelandic identity." A group headquartered in Luxembourg but owned by Icelandic investors, Pilot Investor acquired 50.5% of the shares in the wet-lease specialist. Lead investor Magnus Thorsteinsson, an Icelandic entrepreneur, will join the board "with immediate effect," according to a company statement. Pilot Investor said it secured the entire 22.7% stake in Air Atlanta Icelandic owned and controlled by Icelandic banking concern Bunadarbanki Islands together with further shares held by the airline's chairman and founder, Arngrimur Johannsson, a 747 pilot, and his wife Thora Gudmundsdottir-Johannsson. The pair will retain their leadership positions, according to Pilot Investor. The carrier, founded in 1986, employs up to 1,400 staff during peak times and more than 200 pilots. It generated a net profit in 2001 of 150 million Icelandic kronur ($1.72 million) on revenues of 21 billion kronur. Profits also are expected for the current financial year.
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RE: Air Atlanta Icelandic Sold

Wed Nov 06, 2002 12:13 am

Air Atlanta Icelandic

I have always wondered about this name. Anyone knows about the background?
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RE: Air Atlanta Icelandic Sold

Wed Nov 06, 2002 12:44 am

You can find out more on their website.
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RE: Air Atlanta Icelandic Sold

Wed Nov 06, 2002 12:46 am

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RE: Air Atlanta Icelandic Sold

Wed Nov 06, 2002 1:23 am

As I recall, the founder and his wife were staying at a hotel named "Hotel Atlanta" when they learned they had received the financing they sought to start the company. They didn't have a name for the company at the time, so they used the name of the hotel. I'm not sure why they added the word "Icelandic" to the name - I assume to designate that it was an Icelandic company and possibly to ensure people didn't assume it was based in America/Atlanta... I don't know.
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RE: Air Atlanta Icelandic Sold

Wed Nov 06, 2002 3:07 am

I'm pretty sure the actual press release only refers to the sale of approx
22% + NOT the entire company.

Emergency! Keep your head down, stay down!!
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RE: Air Atlanta Icelandic Sold

Wed Nov 06, 2002 3:15 am

Does the name or assets have ANYTHING to do with the minority-owned startup airline that once flew from Hartsfield?...I believe that was Air Atlanta too.

RE: Air Atlanta Icelandic Sold

Wed Nov 06, 2002 5:02 am

Air Atlanta Icelandic - has NOTHING to do with Air Atlanta (former USA airline), Atlanta is for "Atlantic Ocean"... founder was pilot/owner of Eagle Air Iceland (707-737) in late 1970, early 1980s... (Arnarflug)...
After PanAm bankruptcy, I flew 3 month contract as pilot on Air Atlanta 747, the first time they operated 747s (leased to Saudia) 1993...
They specialize in "Hajj contracts" (flights to Jeddah) - next busy period will be January through about mid-March 2003...
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RE: Air Atlanta Icelandic Sold

Wed Nov 06, 2002 6:17 am

Well, this transaction won't mean much. First of all it means that the founder captain Arngrimur Johannsson and his wife Thora Gudmundsdottir are no longer in financial control of the company. Even if they retain the operational leadership.

But Arngrimur Johannsson hasn't been very active in the company during the later years. He has spent more and more time with his Pitts Special, while once in a while, when he got in the way, his wife Thora Gudmundsdottir sent him away in the left hand seat of a 747.

I think that this is just one first step in a retirement plan. Arngrimur started his career as DC-6 pilot during the Biafra War in 1960 where he flew emergency aid shuttles to the starving people in Biafra. He must be 62 or 63 years old by now. Most countries won't welcome airline pilots at age over 60. And he is not the type of person whom you can place behind an office desk.

Certainly he will now be able to buy a new Pitts Special whenever he wants. His Pitts hangar on a small airstrip outside Reykjavik, Iceland is the most "special" aviation heaven I have ever visited.

Regards, Preben Norholm
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