Ameriflight Plans New Maintenance, Drone-Delivery Services

United Express EMB-120
Credit: Ken Cedeno/Corbis via Getty Images

Cargo feeder specialist Ameriflight is launching a parts-trading business and has plans to set up third-party maintenance services and launch a drone-delivery arm targeting urban areas, the company’s top executive revealed at Aviation Week’s MRO Americas April 28. 

“We’re the largest fleet operator of all four fleet types we operate,” CEO Paul Chase said. “We typically look for great opportunities and deploy capital for [parts] lot buys and full aircraft buys. Sometimes, we have surplus.” 

The new parts business—Ameriflight Components and Exchanges—will help the Dallas-based Part 135 operator monetize its excess inventory and support other operators of its fleet types—Beech 99s, 1900s, Fairchild SA227s, and Embraer EMB-120s. 

Plans call for the new business unit to be up and running sometime around mid-year. 

The expanded MRO service offerings will come later—likely in 2022, Chase said. The goal is straightforward: leverage the company’s existing capabilities and workforce to boost revenues. Examples include EMB-120 landing-gear overhaul capability—something that not many repair stations offer.  

“We can do that now,” Chase said. 

Ameriflight’s existing Burbank, California repair station will play a prominent role in supporting the expanded service offerings, Chase said. The company is eyeing additional locations, he added. 

The company is the largest U.S. Part 135 cargo carrier, with more than 130 aircraft. It specializes in supporting express-package carriers such as FedEx and UPS, linking their hubs to smaller communities. While the company has no plans to abandon its core, manned-aircraft service offerings, it will leverage new technologies and trends to expand its offerings. 

One of its more ambitious projects is seeking FAA approval to conduct delivery via drones. Chase offered few details on the proposed operation or platform, promising more of the carrier’s plans will be revealed after certification is received, which could be as soon as this summer. 

Chase did say that the challenges presented by urban areas—congestion combined with high demand for rapid delivery services—offer an opportunity for unmanned flight operations.  

“We’re a big believer in it,” he said. “We’re very confident in the platform we have now, but what’s the next frontier?”

Sean Broderick

Senior Air Transport & Safety Editor Sean Broderick covers aviation safety, MRO, and the airline business from Aviation Week Network's Washington, D.C. office.


1 Comment
Urban drone delivery? Head to head agaist Amazon, with their vested interest and available money for development? Can't even guess what's going on here.