Ameriflight LLC is an American cargo airline with headquarters at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. It is the largest United States FAA Part 135 cargo carrier, operating scheduled and contract cargo services from 19 bases to destinations in 250 cities across 43 US states, as well as Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. Ameriflight serves major financial institutions, freight forwarders, laboratories and overnight couriers in the US and provides feeder services for overnight express carriers nationwide and internationally. Ameriflight averages 525 daily departures with over 100,000 combined flight hours annually and a 99.5% on-time performance. Ameriflight employs over 700 people (225 pilots, 140 mechanics).
Ameriflight was established in 1968 as California Air Charter. It merged in 1971 with United Couriers (UCI), a wholly owned subsidiary of ATI Systems International (ATIS). In April 1993 the fixed-wing division of Wings Express (which was based at Van Nuys Airport) was purchased, and the outstanding shares of Sports Air Travel were acquired in mid-1997. In March 2007, when Canadian company Garda Security bought ATIS, Ameriflight was sold to a group of investors including the company's president, Gary Richards.
In May 2014 the airline announced it was moving its headquarters to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Maintenance operations and flight operations are scheduled to move to DFW.
In late 2014 Ameriflight reached agreement to acquire Wiggins Airways (48 aircraft and 100 employees), which would result in Ameriflight becoming the largest regional air cargo carrier in the world with 218 aircraft in its fleet.
The majority of Ameriflight's operations consists of air feeder service for major package express integrators such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Other significant customers include Lantheus Medical Imaging, ACS Products, and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. On schedules set by the customers, cargo is received in the early morning from large jet freighters at hub airports and distributed by Ameriflight airplanes to smaller communities whose traffic (or airports) would not support the big airplanes. In the evening, the Ameriflight aircraft fly back to the hubs, in order to feed them with cargo from the smaller communities, which is carried onwards to the integrators' distribution centers for sorting and redistribution to the ultimate destinations.
Although demand is decreasing as use of digital imaging and electronic data transfer increases, Ameriflight also transports high priority intercity financial documents. Pharmaceuticals, film for development, medical laboratory samples, and other miscellaneous cargo are also carried.
Ameriflight is one of the few Part 135 cargo carriers in the U.S. with a special Department of Transportation permit to carry high Transport Index radioactive cargo, an important element in the company's time-critical radioactive medical raw materials business, which transports radioactive "generator" materials between points of manufacture and cities where it is used to produce materials used in diagnostics and cancer therapy.
In addition to scheduled flying (with contract schedules set by customers), all Ameriflight bases can respond to unscheduled on-demand cargo flights to destinations in Alaska, Canada, throughout the contiguous U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and into South America. A single King Air 200 is used for on-demand passenger charter flights.
As of early 2016, Ameriflight's headquarters are at Dallas' Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, with large operations centers at the following 19 bases:United States
Arizona: Phoenix (Sky Harbor International Airport)
California: Burbank (Bob Hope Airport), and Ontario (Ontario International Airport)
Florida: Miami (Opa-Locka Executive Airport)
Michigan: Lansing (Capital Region International Airport)
Missouri: St. Louis (Spirit of St. Louis Airport)
Nebraska: Omaha (Eppley Airfield)
New Hampshire: Wiggins Airways base in Manchester (Manchester-Boston Regional Airport)
New Mexico:Albuquerque (Albuquerque International Sunport)
New York: Buffalo (Buffalo Niagara International Airport)
Ohio / Kentucky: Cincinnati (Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport) and Louisville (Louisville International Airport)
Oregon: Portland (Portland International Airport)
Texas: Dallas (Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport), and San Antonio (San Antonio International Airport)
Utah: Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City International Airport)
Washington: Seattle (Boeing Field)
Aguadilla (Rafael Hernández Airport)
San Juan (Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport)
The Ameriflight fleet includes the following aircraft (as of August 2016):
Ameriflight's fleet previously consisted of seven aircraft types with cargo capacities ranging from 1,700 to 8,000 pounds.
They include:1 further Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia - Max Payload: 8,000 pounds, Speed: 320 MPH
Fairchild SA227 Metroliner/Expediter - Fleet Size: 45, Max Payload: 4,400/4,900 pounds, Speed: 300 MPH
Beechcraft 1900 Amerifreighter - Fleet Size: 25, Max Payload: 5,800 pounds, Speed: 275 MPH
Beechcraft Model 99 - Fleet Size: 67 (including Wiggins Airways), Max Payload: 3,500 pounds, Speed: 240 MPH
Piper Pa-31-350 Chieftain - Fleet Size: 25, Max Payload: 1,750 pounds, Speed: 205 MPH
Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante - Wiggins Airways, Fleet Size: 7, Max Payload: 3,500 pounds, Speed: 240 MPH
Cessna C208 Caravan - Wiggins Airways, Fleet Size: 28, Max Payload: 3,500 pounds, Speed: 210 MPH
Fleet Total: 218
In previous times, the airline operated the following aircraft types: Cessna 402, Cessna 208 Caravan, Dassault Falcon 20, de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, Learjet 35A, Mitsubishi MU-2, Piper PA-32R, Piper PA-32, Piper PA-28, Piper PA-23 and Piper PA-31T Cheyenne.On November 16, 1994, at 02:40 local time, an Ameriflight Beechcraft Model 99 (registered N63995) on a cargo flight from Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport to Oakland International Airport descended steeply into the ground from cruise altitude near Avenal and the pilot was killed in the crash. The probable cause could not be determined, although pilot incapacitation was suspected.
On August 13, 1997, Flight 262 from Portland to Seattle, which was operated using a Beechcraft 1900 (registered N3172A) was damaged in a crash, landing at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport and destroyed in a fire that had erupted from spilled fuel. Investigation into the accident determined that the airplane had been overloaded and that the pilot had been misinformed by staff members of the company that contracted for the flight about the cargo weight and center of gravity, which led to a stall situation during the landing flareout.
On February 12, 1999, at around 10:30 local time, Beechcraft C99 (registered N205RA) crashed into a canyon of the White Mountains, while en route a positioning flight from Tonopah Airport to Bishop Airport. The wreckage was finally discovered two days later. According to relatives and witnesses, the pilot (who was killed in the crash) had stated his intent to take aerial pictures of the local scenery and likely lost control of the aircraft while doing so.
On November 29, 2003, at 08:01 local time, Flight 1966 from Boeing Field crashed into trees in bad visibility conditions while approaching its destination Felts Field, by which the pilot was killed. The aircraft involved, a Fairchild Metro III registered N439AF, had one of its two ILS receivers deferred due to intermittent flag activity at the time of the accident. The pilot had initiated his final descent late and then descended through the glide slope.
On March 18, 2006, Flight 2591, a Beechcraft Model 99 (registered N54RP) crashed during a flight from Helena to Butte in Montana about 8.1 miles South West of its destination, killing the two pilots on board. The plane impacted trees and mountainous terrain, where the wreckage could only be located on March 20. The cause of the crash was determined to be the pilot's failure to follow the proper instrument approach procedure.
On December 17, 2007, the Beechcraft Model 99 (registered N206AV) that was operating as Flight 4844 landed short of the runway at Vernal Regional Airport in low visibility conditions, during which the aircraft was considerably damaged.
On September 22, 2009, an Ameriflight Fairchild Merlin IV-C sustained substantial damage to its nose and forward pressure bulkhead at Eppley Airfield, when another company's Cessna 402 collided with the parked plane. This accident was not charged to Ameriflight since their airplane was parked unattended at the time.
On November 4, 2009, at 07:50 local time, a Beechcraft Model 99 (registered N330AV) suffered a bird strike when approaching Show Low Regional Airport following a cargo flight from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. A western grebe impacted and penetrated the left pilot side of the flight deck windscreen, striking and injuring the single pilot. The impact left an 11 inch by 8 inch hole in the windscreen. The pilot was able to continue the approach and land without further incident.
On January 6, 2010, at 07:41 local time, a Beechcraft Model 99 (registered N206AV) was damaged in a hard landing at Kearney Regional Airport following a cargo flight from Omaha. The aircraft may have behaved unexpectedly because of unconfirmed icing that may have been present on the wings.
On March 10, 2011, Flight 1951, a Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner, slid off the runway and onto the grass at Boeing Field in Seattle when completing a flight from Nez Perce County Airport. Preliminary reports indicated a nosewheel steering problem, but there were also difficult wind shear conditions at the time of the accident. The single pilot of the airplane was uninjured.
On June 30, 2015, a Beechcraft Model 99 (Flight 1802) crashed immediately after takeoff on Salt Lake City International Airport's Runway 16L just before 8:00AM local time. Both pilots were reported uninjured. The flight was bound for Ely, Nevada.