Embracing the Future of Aviation
Years from now, when people review the aftermath of the DHL departure, it will be noted that the first
positive job-related news at the Wilmington Air Park was the formation of AMES. The business venture started out with 300-plus employees, many of them aircraft mechanics and engineers who had been working for ABX Air.
ABX Air President John W. Graber spearheaded the effort to develop a viable new business in the wake of DHL’s changes in its U.S. operations.
The impetus for the new company, said Graber at the time, came from an attempt to devise a way to lever the “core group of highly experienced, highly trained technicians and professionals” already working at the air park and determine whether there was, what amounted to, the makings of a viable company already there, just waiting to be developed.
The conclusion was yes, indeed, Wilmington continues to provide the workforce, infrastructure, and facilities to support a vibrant aerospace economy.
Airborne Maintenance & Engineering Services, Inc.
Airborne Maintenance & Engineering Services, Inc. (AMES) is a one-stop aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul provider operating out of Wilmington Air Park and at line maintenance stations at the Greater Cincinnati Airport and Miami International Airport.
AMES’ maintenance heritage dates to 1980, when it began life as the in-house aircraft maintenance operation for Airborne Freight Corporation, more commonly known as Airborne Express. During this period, the organization developed a reputation for unmatched reliability in the industry, a legacy that continues to this day.
In 2003, DHL Worldwide Express acquired Airborne Freight Corporation, and its airline and aircraft maintenance operations were restructured as an independent public company.
In May 2009, AMES was reorganized into its current form as an independent maintenance, repair, and overhaul provider.
AMES provides heavy maintenance, line maintenance, material sales and service, component repair and overhaul, and engineering services to aircraft operators. Within three large hangars at the Wilmington Air Park totaling more than 200,000 square feet of space, highly trained technicians overhaul aircraft, perform routine inspections and repairs, and schedule maintenance services.
The hangars also house several shop areas and offices for support of the aircraft, customers, and staff. A fourth hangar is planned for completion in 2013. AMES also operates a 100,000-square-foot Base Shops facility at the air park with extensive component repair capabilities.
>> Brad Heath, Director of Business Development at AMES, on why the quality of life in Clinton County matters to his growing business’ success.
ABX Air, Inc.
ABX Air, Inc. (ABX) is an all-cargo airline headquartered in Wilmington. The airline began when Airborne Freight Corporation acquired Midwest Air Charter, a regional cargo operation, in 1980. Operating as Airborne Express, it quickly became the third-largest express freight company in the United States, as ABX developed the expertise needed to move millions of pieces of freight every night in and out of its national air hub in Wilmington.
When Airborne Freight Corporation was acquired by DHL Worldwide Express in 2003, ABX became an independent public company. DHL remains the airline’s largest customer.
ABX operates a fleet of more than two dozen Boeing 767 freighters flying express cargo routes for customers in the United States and around the world.
ABX also offers FAA-certificated flight crew training. It operates three flight simulators at the air park.
LGSTX Services, Inc.
LGSTX Services, Inc. (LGSTX) is an established provider of aviation-related support and facility services. The company’s heritage is built on three decades of experience maintaining a fully functioning, 1,900-acre airport.
In addition to servicing, leasing, and selling a large inventory of aircraft ground support equipment such as power units, airstarts, deicers, and pushback vehicles, the LGSTX team handles HVAC, janitorial, building repair, lighting, grounds keeping, electrical, plumbing, roofing, generator service, aircraft fuel services, and ground vehicle fleet maintenance.
ABX, AMES, and LGSTX are all part of Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (ATSG), also headquartered at the air park in Wilmington.
In addition to the aircraft maintenance services, air cargo lift, and airport ground services already described, ATSG companies provide aircraft leasing, dispatch and flight tracking, specialized transportation management, sort center management, and air charter brokerage services.
ATSG companies employ about 2,000 people worldwide, with about 750 of them working in Wilmington.
The company’s common shares are publicly traded on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol ATSG.