Electronic Banking Hurts AirNet

Electronic Banking Hurts AirNet

Copyright 2004, Traffic World, Inc.

AirNet Systems is moving to find new lines of business to replace the bank checks and other financial documents that are disappearing from the specialized carrier''s system at something like Internet speed.

With electronic check clearance growing more common in the financial world, the Ohio-based overnight operator saw bank service revenue shrink nearly 2 percent in the first quarter to $25.8 million.

Bank service remains 64 percent of the company''s total revenue but the company is scrambling to fill a void that will grow under laws granting legal recognition to electronic recognition of checks.

"Our strategy to diversify our revenue and customer base by providing premium aviation services in select markets continues," AirNet Chairman, President and CEO Joe Biggerstaff said. "New customers are being added, and increased opportunities are being identified in the life sciences, aerospace and entertainment markets and among individuals and businesses seeking quality passenger charter services."

Passenger charters accounted for 9 percent of AirNet''s first quarter revenue for 2004, up from 4 percent a year earlier. Express services brought in 27 percent of AirNet''s quarterly revenue, up from 24 percent a year ago.

Despite the new strategy, bank services remains AirNet''s bread and butter, partly because it banks aren''t rushing to full electronic clearance as rapidly as some had predicted.

"The outlook in the bank market is influenced by mixed messages from our customers as each bank seeks to respond to changes in electronic and physical check presentment processes by pursuing a solution most appropriate for their financial institution," Biggerstaff said. "We continue to work with all of our customers to provide them with a range of premium services to meet their changing needs."