Airlines Remembered

Airborne Express

Photos © R.Leeuw


Ceased operations: rebranded ABX Air during 2003
Homebase: Wilmington-Airborne Park, OH
Founded: 1979
ICAO callsign: ABEX
Flightnbr prefix: GB / ABX
Operations: cargo

N968AX DC-9-41
DC-9-41 N968AX (47499/568) Airborne Express @ Nashville,TN 05Aug01

On March 25, 2003 a statement was released (in Seattle,WA and Brussels, Belgium) which announced that DHL was to acquire the ground operations of Airborne Inc. and integrate it with DHL.
Airborne Airline operations and fleet was to be outsourced and to become an independent company, named ABX Air Inc.
Part of the Press Release went like this:
Seattle, Washington and Brussels, Belgium, March 25, 2003 - Airborne, Inc. (NYSE: ABF) and DHL announced today that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement that will create a stronger third competitor in the U.S. express delivery market.
Under the terms of the agreement, DHL will acquire Airborne's ground operations (1) for $21.25 per share in cash, or a total equity value of approximately $1.05 billion. Upon conclusion of the acquisition, Airborne's air operations will be separated from its ground operations and will become an independent public company, called ABX Air, Inc. ("ABX Air"). ABX Air will be wholly owned by Airborne's current shareholders, who will each receive one share of ABX Air for every Airborne share they hold.
"The UPS/FedEx duopoly has a 79%(2) share of the U.S. express delivery market, and the combination of DHL and Airborne will enable us to create a much stronger competitor, which will benefit a broader range of express delivery customers," said Carl Donaway, Chairman and CEO of Airborne, who will become the CEO of the enlarged DHL business in the U.S.
"This combination will strengthen DHL's presence in the U.S., and our global presence will bring significant benefits to Airborne customers," said Uwe Doerken, CEO of DHL Worldwide. "We see great opportunity for DHL to build on the capabilities of the new combined company in the U.S. market, especially in the under-served small- and medium-sized business segments".
Airborne is the third largest air overnight parcel carrier in the United States, with an 18.8%(2) market share in the air overnight category, delivering approximately 356 million domestic parcels in 2002. DHL has the world's most extensive international parcel delivery network, with service to 120,000 destinations in more than 220 countries worldwide. Although DHL has the leading market share in international express delivery outside the U.S., it has less than a 2% share of the U.S. air overnight domestic market today.
The U.S. ground operations of Airborne and DHL will operate under the DHL brand.

The transaction, which is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed during the summer of 2003.
ABX Air will have its own Board of Directors, management, independent auditor and SEC financial reporting requirements. The Chief Executive Officer will be Joe Hete, who is currently the senior operating executive of Airborne's airline operations. To ensure ABX Air continues to meet U.S. citizenship requirements, its certificate of incorporation will include standard mechanisms to prevent foreign entities from gaining a control position, including share ownership limits and foreign owner share registry.
On completion of the transaction, ABX Air and DHL will enter into arms-length commercial agreements that will govern their relationship, including an aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) agreement under which the new airline company will provide air service to DHL's ground business. It will also provide these services to third parties.
END Press Release.

During 2002 the fleet of Airborne Express compromised almost 90 various models of the McDonnell-Douglas DC-9, 19 Boeing 767-200s and 30+ McDonnell-Douglas DC-8s. During 2003 the first aircraft were seen with a new colourscheme, featuring the new name in large titles: ABX.
Anno Jan.2005 the stuation was summed up thus: In 2003 ABX broke off from former parent company, Airborne, which was acquired by DHL Worldwide Express BV. According to ABX filings, about 90 percent of ABX's revenue comes from services it provides to DHL, a logistics and express delivery company.
ABX has more than 7,000 employees, with more than 6,000 at its Wilmington hub.

Scott A.Martin sent me the following info (June 2005):
ASTAR Air Cargo was named on July 14, 2003 when a U.S. investor group led by ASTAR Air Cargo Chairman and CEO John Dasburg purchased all of the outstanding shares of DHL Airways, Inc.
DHL Airways, Inc. was founded in 1972 and has a 30 year record of providing reliable air cargo services.
Thanks Scott!

Fleet info: JP Airline Fleets


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Last updated 20.4.2006