ABX Air lands USA Jet contract

ABX Air lands USA Jet contract

ABX Air announced Monday that it has received an order from USA Jet Airlines worth approximately $1.1 million to modify eight DC-9 aircraft.

ABX, the all-cargo airline spun off from Airborne Express after Deutsche Post World Net acquired Airborne's ground network and merged it with DHL Worldwide Express's delivery operation, plans to install Reduced Vertical Separation Minima equipment on three aircraft before year-end and on the other five next year. It also has an option for similar work on four other aircraft in 2005.

The Federal Aviation Administration has said that all aircraft must eventually have RVSM equipment installed to operate above 29,000 feet, with a tentative deadline of Jan. 20, 2005.

Joe Hete, president and chief executive of ABX, said the deal "shows our commitment to expanding our customer base." Because ABX will be doing most of its flying for DHL, the company is hoping that the USA Jet deal will deflect charges that it is controlled by DHL.

The announcement came as an administrative law judge appointed by the U.S. Department of Transportation was scheduled to resume a probe into the ownership of Astar Air Cargo, formerly known as DHL Airways. FedEx and United Parcel Service contend that Astar is controlled by Deutsche Post, a German company, because it gets more than 90 percent of its business from DHL.

USA Jet Airlines is a cargo carrier based in Belleville, Mich.