Dec. 6 2012 02:11 PM

Let’s assume you were able to offer customers a reduction of their cost if they invited other customers to join them on the same high-speed point to point service they were enjoying. How would you do it? Probably the same way AirNet is — by using a particular method or system of reasoning that you would remember from a calculus course.

Frank DiMaria, head of marketing, explains, “AirNet now flies to 80 cities five nights a week from principle hubs in Burbank, Chicago, Columbus, Denver, St. Louis, and Teterboro, NJ. Customers began requesting specific flights that originated from those destinations. We introduced Scheduled Package Delivery (SPD) that is always faster than ground service and often less in cost. This service uses a fleet of Cessna 210s that are fast, reliable, consistent, and inexpensive. Once we have an anchor customer, we offer to reduce their cost if they help us attract additional customers on the same flights. The local and regional carriers have also proven to be great partners for attracting customers and speeding delivery to and from the airports.”

AirNet’s unique strengths: 
• Only air carrier to allow GPS made by all three certified technology companies — Crossbow, On Asset and GTX allowing AirNet to leapfrog barcodes. The GPS device is placed within the package.
• Package vulnerability is improved because everything is hand-sorted with no mechanization at hubs.
• Package valuation can be up to $1,000,000 for anything, including jewelry, artwork, and data tapes.
• Not integrated with a ground operation, therefore a strong partner with local and regional carriers.
• Favored by high time/value customers: life sciences, medical devices, aerospace, security sensitive, government, banking, entertainment, hazardous materials, and high tech.

They have a large fleet of 121 aircraft, including the world’s largest fleet of Cessnas (68), 24 Beechcraft, 13 Bombardier Learjets, 12 Piper Navajos, and four Mitsubishi Marquise. The company was founded in 1974 to serve bank customers by moving high value checks to the Federal Reserve in order to speed moving funds. Electronic checks became legal in 2004 under the Check 21 Act and AirNet adapted to the market by gaining customers with medical nuclear devices, lab specimens, and high technology products requiring speed and accuracy. They also designed and operated a Next Flight Out service in 2000 and successfully sold that division this year.

Speed is gained by flying into smaller airports and using much less ground time because there are no large mechanized hubs because positive hand offs are done for each package. This process allows the aircraft to take off later and land earlier than global carriers. They fly about 200 flights per night, serving over 2500 markets. The airports they utilize are visible on their website. Airnet’s service level is well over 99% and they are certified ISO 9001.
It is refreshing to see that our democratic and capitalistic marketplace is still innovating options to serve customers.

Rob Shirley is President of ExpresShip, a strategic partner in the global supply chain. Contact him