Airborne Express

Airborne Express

Infobox Defunct Company
company_name = Airborne Express
company_type = cargo airline, express delivery
foundation = 1946
location = Seattle, Washington
industry = Logistics
homepage = None
fate = Acquired
defunct = 2003 DHL acquired Airborne
successor = DHL

Airborne Express Airline codes|n/a|ABX|Abex was an express delivery company and cargo airline. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, its hub was at Wilmington, Ohio.

Airborne was founded as the Airborne Flower Traffic Association of California in 1946 to fly flowers from the state of Hawaii to US Mainland.

Airborne Express developed special narrow containers which allowed the use of passenger jet aircraft without needing a large cargo door modification.

It was acquired by DHL in 2003. Prior to the acquisition, it was the third largest private express delivery company in the United States.


Airborne's first 22 years growth was slow. Progress came slowly and competition was stiff. But in 1968, the airline started going through some changes. To begin with, Airborne of California merged with Pacific Air Freight of Seattle. The airline moved its headquarters there and changed its name to Airborne Freight Corporation.

* 1980 - The airline changed its name to Airborne Express. After buying Midwest Air Charter, Airborne Express made history by buying the Clinton County Air Force Base in Wilmington and became the first airline in history to own and operate an airport.

* 1988 - Airborne started offering same day delivery after buying Sky Courier (now DHL SameDay).

* 1991 - Airborne received awards from 3 major companies, including Volvo, and in 1992, the airline introduced Flight-Ready SM, a prepaid express letters and packs system.

* 1993 - Airborne introduce the Airborne Logistics System (ALS), which provided Airborne with warehousing and distribution services.

* 1994 - Airborne opened the Ocean Services Division, and ALS established the first new film distribution program for Hollywood since 1944. In addition, relations were established with Vietnam.

* 1995 - Airborne opened a second runway at Wilmington, and Boeing 767 jets were added to the fleet. The Airborne Alliance Group took care of many departments for the company.

* 1996 - Airborne's stock tripled, which would later lead into a two for one stock split in February 1998. Formed that year was Airborne Brokerage Services.

* 1998 - Airborne entered the Fortune 500 list for the first time. Airborne's first of 30 total 767's arrived at Wilmington, and the airline won an award by The Business Consumer Guide.

* 1999 - Airborne@Home, an alliance with the United States Postal Service, was formed.

* 2000 - Carl Donaway became the company's new president, which lead to many managerial changes. Also that year, Airborne started a ground service for the first time in its history.

* 2001 - Airborne Express launched Ground Delivery Service and 10:30 AM Delivery Service. launched some services of its own, including the Small Business Center and Airborne eCourier.

* August 14, 2003 - Airborne shareholders approved the acquisition of Airborne, Inc. by DHL of Brussels, Belgium. DHL is 100% owned by Deutsche Post World Net. The acquisition became effective the next day. DHL retained ownership of Airborne's ground operations and spun off its air operations as ABX Air, Inc.


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