History

We Can Do That!

Empire Airlines has grown from small and humble roots to become the largest regional operator for FedEx, provider of passenger and cargo services for 'Ohana by Hawaiian and added Aerospace and Unmanned divisions. With more than 400 employees and 18 bases west of the Mississippi, Empire Airlines has a proud history and a promising future. We would love for you to be a part of our story!

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Our Story

2020: U.S. launch customer for ATR 72-600F 

Empire Airlines is the North America launch customer for the ATR 72-600F regional freighter. FedEx signed a contract for the purchase of 30 ATR 72-600F plus an option to purchase an additional 20. 

2016: Idaho Hall of Fame induction

 

2015: Empire Airlines began passenger operations for 'Ohana by Hawaiian

2014: FAA issued Empire Airlines passenger flying certification

 

2007: Contract with Horizon Air

Empire Aerospace signed a contract with Horizon Air to support a line of Q-400 aircraft for reliability and performance upgrade modifications. Also in 2007, Empire Aerospace added Dash 8-100, -200, -300 and Q-400 capabilities to its Op Specs.

2006: Empire Aerospace began Heavy Maintenance

Empire Aerospace signed Operations Specifications to allow the performance of heavy maintenance on ATR 42s, ATR 72s and Fokker F27s. Empire Aerospace performed heavy maintenance on first ATR 72 imported from Germany by FedEx.

2005: Empire Aerospace ribbon-cutting ceremony

Empire Aerospace held a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne in attendance. Empire Airlines moved into a new hangar and office building.

2004: First ATR FedEx revenue flight

The first ATR42 was put on Empire Airlines' certificate. Also in 2004, the Empire Airlines Board of Directors accepted Idaho’s proposal for new hangar and office at the Coeur d’Alene Airport in Hayden, Idaho.

2003: Cargo Conversion in Spokane

The first ATR 42 arrived in Spokane for cargo conversion.

2002: Empire Airlines purchased Reliant Logistics

2001: Empire Airlines received Repair Station certification

2000: Tim Komberec hired as CEO

1999: FedEx service in Europe

Empire Airlines began performing heavy maintenance checks on F27s. Empire Airlines entered into partnership to begin Express Air serving FedEx in Europe.

1998: SD360s and Fokker F27s

Empire Airlines started flying and maintaining Shorts SD360 aircraft. Empire sent technical reps to Conair during heavy maintenance checks on Fokker F27s.

1995: Move from Coeur d'Alene Airport

Empire Airlines moved its Corporate Office from the Coeur d’Alene Airport to Government Way in Hayden, Idaho, and ended passenger service to focus on cargo, maintenance and airline startups.

1993: Partnership with Silverwing Holidays to fly BAe 146 jets

Empire Airlines also became a sustaining member of CASE (Coordinating Agency for Supplier Evaluation).

 

1992: Assisted Maholo Airlines startup

 

1990: More cargo routes added

Empire Airlines added more cargo routes and performed its first heavy maintenance check on a Fairchild F27.

1989: Purchase of Pacific Alaska

Empire Airlines became a FAR 121 operator after the purchase of Pacific Alaska and two Fairchild F27 aircraft. In August, Empire Airlines started F27 service for FedEx. Empire Airlines also flew in Alaska for Naval Arctic Research Laboratory.

1988: Contract with FedEx

Empire Airlines signed a contract with FedEx to fly and maintain Caravan 208s out of Portland and Spokane. Seattle was added in September.

1987: Contracts with Hughes Corp. and Colorado ski shuttles

Empire Airlines contracted with Hughes Corporation to fly employees between three California offices. Empire Airlines also contracted with a Colorado company to run shuttle service between ski resorts.

1986: Metro service expands

Empire Airlines added Metro service to meet passenger demand and added Lewiston to the COE-BOI route.

1984: Addition of commuter service

Empire launched commuter service between Coeur d'Alene and Boise on a 9-passenger plane.

1983: DOD Contract

Pilots Al Hall and Dan Paulson arrived in the Caribbean for the Department of Defense Grenada contract chauffeuring military personnel and supplies.

1981: Executive Aviation purchase

After purchasing Executive Aviation in Missoula, Montana, Empire Airlines leased Twin Otters for the U.S. Forest Service smoke jumping contracts.

1980: Purchase of West Aire, Inc.

Following the purchase of West Aire, Inc., Empire Airlines expanded its business at the Coeur d'Alene Airport to include aircraft sales and maintenance.

1977: Empire Airlines founded as Clearwater Flying Service

The small, fixed-base charter company transported sportsmen and smoke jumpers into the back country. By 1979, the Orofino, Idaho-based business expanded to include flight patrol, air ambulance, air pollution monitoring, charters and flight instruction.

Proud History, Promising Future

As we celebrate our history, we invite you to join us in creating our future. Visit our Careers page to learn more:

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