Air Cargo Carriers was established in 1986 with a stated aim of
providing aircraft in freight operations to service non-trunk
population centers with the same bulk capacity and container
capability as had been available only in larger markets.
Air Cargo began flying 3,500 lb. capacity Shorts Skyvan aircraft
and grew to a fleet of 5 such aircraft. Starting in 1990, Shorts
SD3-30 aircraft were added to the fleet. Even larger capacity
Shorts 360's were introduced into Air Cargo operations in 1995. The
Skyvans have been phased out over time by moving them to an airline
that is associated with Air Cargo Carriers. This airline, North
Star Air Cargo, operates the aircraft but Air Cargo Carriers
provides operating assistance in the form of dispatching, spares
provisioning and other services. This has been an advantage to Air
Cargo as North Star has been able to inaugurate routes with lower
volumes than Air Cargo operates with the larger Shorts 330's and
360's. As volumes grow on the routes it is an easy upgrade to the
larger 330's and 360's.
The US FAA allows aftermarket conversions of aircraft that are
termed Supplemental Type Certificates (STC's). STC's are typically
very involved to obtain as the FAA has stringent requirements that
must be met before they will issue an STC. They usually require a
great deal of time and significant investment to achieve. Over the
years Air Cargo has developed or purchased STC's that allow for the
conversion of the aircraft from passenger to cargo configurations
and for unique modifications to the Shorts SD3-30 and SD3-60
aircraft that improve their value and effectiveness as cargo
aircraft. All of the Air Cargo Shorts SD3-30 and SD3-60 aircraft
have been converted from a passenger configuration to cargo with an
expanded cargo door and strengthened flat floor for quick and easy
loading of cargo. In addition to owning the STC's for the
conversion to cargo for the Shorts Aircraft, Air Cargo performs the
conversions in house to insure quality and minimize cost.
Air Cargo is now the largest commercial owner and operator of
Shorts aircraft in the world. At one time there were other
operators with large fleets of Shorts aircraft, but these were all
passenger operations. Passenger commuter operators are now
repositioning their fleets to include more regional jets and larger
turboprops with the Shorts aircraft being displaced. They are not
particularly attractive in the passenger market because they are
not pressurized and relatively slow when compared to newer
aircraft. This negative view of the Shorts aircraft in passenger
operations is an advantage to Air Cargo as they are excellent cargo
aircraft. They are built almost square and have a great deal of
internal volume in which to load and unload the aircraft and have
the cubic capacity to accommodate the bulky packages and containers
that are becoming the norm in the package express industry.
Air Cargo is also the most integrated Shorts operator. Air Cargo
is extremely unique in having its own flight training device
in-house for pilot training. This is one of only two Shorts
simulators in existence in the world. The availability of this
simulator on site allows Air Cargo to train and keep their pilots
current on the Shorts aircraft at much lower cost than other
operators who have to send their pilots to La Guardia (New York
City) for training on the only other simulator.
Air Cargo, with its central maintenance facility in Milwaukee,
has the equipment and tooling to perform all maintenance functions
on the Shorts aircraft. Air Cargo performs Hot Section Inspections
(HSI's) on its engines. Air Cargo also owns the aforementioned
STC's that allow the conversion of the aircraft from passenger to
cargo configurations and performs all of these conversions in its
own shop. An avionics shop and instrument shop are also located at
the Milwaukee facility.
Air Cargo has one of the largest Shorts parts inventories in the
world. When operators have ceased Shorts operations, Air Cargo has
acquired their aircraft, parts and tooling. Damaged aircraft have
also been acquired and stripped for useful parts. This has allowed
Air Cargo to acquire a very extensive parts inventory at a very
Air Cargo has now positioned itself as a provider of a full
range of services to other Shorts operators. This strategy allows
Air Cargo to generate additional revenue and profits from its
dominant position in the Shorts market and to maintain that
position by keeping in contact with other Shorts operators and
knowing when Shorts aircraft or parts are available for sale. This
is particularly advantageous when an operator is leaving the
business and a package of aircraft and parts can be acquired at
very favorable prices. Air Cargo is selling some of its parts
inventory to other operators but mostly parts that are excess to
current and projected needs to meet internal growth. Air Cargo is
more aggressive in trading parts that are due for servicing such as
avionics and instruments. In these situations, Air Cargo will swap
a serviceable (working) item for a repairable item to another
operator. Air Cargo will repair the serviceable part and place on
the shelf for other use.
Air Cargo provides pilot and maintenance personnel training to
other Shorts operators. Providing these services to other Shorts
operators is good business. It allows Air Cargo to stay very close
to other available aircraft and parts in the Shorts market and
helps to defray costs.
Air Cargo Carriers, Inc. is established at Mitchell
International Airport in Milwaukee, WI.
ACC adds Emery Airborne as a major customer.
ACC adds multiple logistics companies to its growing client
list. Four total aircraft in fleet.
ACC acquires Starlight Express. This purchase includes an
additional four aircraft.
ACC continues adding major customers including US Postal
Service, Federal Express and DHL. 11 total aircraft in fleet.
ACC obtains a major contract for the design and operation of
transportation systems fo four Priority Mail processing centers.
This contract includes containers, ground handling equipment and
ACC weathers the industry slowdown following 9/11 better than
similar companies due to prior year cutbacks. ACC also begins
operating in the Caribbean.
ACC certifies an FAA approved turbine engine overhaul facility
in Hartford, WI.
ACC recognizes the increase in on demand freight needs.
Utilizing excess aircraft, ACC implements on demand services. The
combination of a high repeatability, low margin business (contract)
and a low repeatability, high margin business (on demand) results
in sustantial growth. ACC's aircraft fleet up to 21 total
ACC installs a new management team of CEO and COO - an effort
that has been underway for several years. Air Cargo's rapid growth
has demonstrated the need to bring a more professional structure to
what had been an entreprenurial company. The founder, who initiated
this change has assumed the role of Board Chair and will continue
to lead ACC's strategic efforts.
ACC Holding, Inc. aquires The Telford Group, Inc. to increase
the value added services both companies offer customers.