Active Aero Group Flies onto the Radar
Belleville, Michigan USA
August 10, 2007
Evan Armstrong

Key Personnel:
Christopher F. Healy, President Active Aero Group
David S. Quin, President Active On-Demand
Frank Fuller, VP Sales USA Jet Airlines
Mitchell Noble, Executive VP USA Jet Airlines
Angela Bradley, Marketing Communications


Active Aero Group is headquartered in Belleville, Michigan just outside of Detroit. It was founded in 1979 as an asset-based Part 135 cargo airline providing small jet cargo lift to automotive industry customers. After obtaining its FAR Part 121 operating certificate as USA Jet Airlines in 1994, it began operating DC-9 and Dassault Falcon 20 jet cargo freighters. Its Active Aero Charter Division provided air charter management for any size air cargo shipment using its owned and leased aircraft to meet customer requirements.

In 1996 Active Aero Charter deployed “CharterNet”, a web-based air cargo charter management system. As one of the first successful business-to-business exchanges, it changed the nature of the air charter market. Customers now had visibility to all shipment related events including: price, quality, and service time options. This technological advance helped Active Aero to grow into a leading non-asset based, on-demand transportation manager. The company currently deploys controlled assets on approximately 35% of managed transactions. Assets are held in reserve for contracted clients when air cargo market capacity becomes scarce.

This same business model evolved into Active On-Demand in 2004. Its core business focus is to streamline the process of acquiring transportation capacity for air and ground domestic and international on-demand shipments. It has developed a proprietary system for efficiently handling mode and carrier selection.

Active Aero Group has grown to over 360 employees and 2006 revenues were $140 million. Key customers include: Eaton Corp., Ford, GM, General Electric, Honda, Johnson Controls, Nortel, Siemens, and Toyota. Active Aero Group has two separate operating divisions: Active On-Demand and USA Jet Airlines Inc.

Active PTM Control Room

Active PTM Control Room

Active On-Demand

Active On-Demand provides non-asset based solutions across critical shipment modes through its operating entities: Active PTM is responsible for coordinating all on-demand transportation moves both domestically and internationally, Active Aero Charter specializes in global air charter management, and Active Global Solutions is a multi-mode execution company. The focus is to acquire optimal transportation capacity for customers with on-demand delivery requirements.

The approach is multi-modal; ground carriers and air carriers can compete to handle shipments based upon well-defined customer delivery requirements. This unique business model offers non-asset based solutions with controlled asset capacity available to insure availability during capacity fluctuations. All pricing is spot market; real time and visible.

Active Aero has created its own central transportation management operation and proprietary system, “APT”. Active PTM receives shipment requests from customers and APT optimizes the transportation mode allowing customers to select the best carrier at the best price able to meet the delivery requirements. APT’s comprehensive interface provides complete visibility to customers and carriers from shipment origination all the way through POD (proof of delivery). The process from shipment request to delivery is shown in the figure below.

Active PTM “APT System” Event Management and Alert Timing

Supporting the operation is a cadre of over 1,250 air and ground carriers. Many are small owner-operators who benefit from Active PTM’s increasing shipment volumes. On average, Active PTM is managing approximately 40 full airplane charters a day and handled over 11,000 airfreight tonnes in 2006. Approximately half of the air charters are to Canada or Mexico.

Recent service additions include international on-demand transportation management and domestic over-the-road on-demand truckloads. Active PTM has a full time staff working with customs brokers for AMS work, coordinating in-country pickups and deliveries, and arranging international air transportation.

USA Jet Airlines Inc.

USA Jet Airlines is a diversified on-demand airline operating DC-9 and Dassault Falcon 20 aircraft in cargo and passenger configuration. The company has private passenger authority and provides services to many NCAA sports teams, specialized vacation charters and passenger shuttles for large corporations. Additionally, it manages crews and maintains aircraft for the US government.

In summary, Active Aero Group has become a significant niche on-demand transportation manager. With a growing customer base and global capabilities, it won’t be long before Active Aero appears on more industry watchers’ radars.


Sources: A&A Primary Research,

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