Flying High With AAR

Airplane being maintenanced

AAR knows what it takes to grow a small business into a successful large company: It all started with one man and a used airplane radio.

In 1951, college undergrad Ira Allen Eichner loaded a used airplane radio into the trunk of his car, drove it from Florida to Chicago and sold it at a profit. From this modest beginning, the upward climb for Eichner began and I.A. Allen Industrial Sales, as the company was originally named, took off.

Firm growth

Over the years, Eichner extended his inventory, expanded the company’s operations, and provided MRO and other services. He opened multiple locations in the U.S. and abroad, merged with other companies, went through a number of name changes and ventured into other aviation services.

Today, AAR has locations in 20 countries and provides aviation services to domestic and international commercial airlines — as well as to government fleets and troops — in more than 100 countries.

Within AAR’s tale of expansion and success lie a number of takeaways for any business aiming to make an impact in the modern aerospace industry — no matter its size.


Reach great heights

Promote the speed and efficiencies of your company by putting FedEx® Aerospace Solutions to work for you and your customers with:

  • Customized shipping services
  • Critical care solutions
  • Speedy package and freight delivery options
  • Customs brokerage expertise
  • Global coverage
  • Comprehensive supply chain solutions
FedEx airplane in flight

Stay agile

In this challenging, fast-paced business of aftermarket aviation, stakes are high and turnaround times are tight. Strategy is everything. Several key traits have helped AAR thrive:

  • Flexibility
  • Responsiveness
  • Automation
  • Strategic alliances

What sets AAR apart? Lindsay Garfield, vice president of sourcing and logistics, states that one key is the company’s “ability to react and change.” AAR, which began as a supplier of aftermarket parts, grew by addressing the evolving needs of the market.


In the past 15 years, AAR survived airline cutbacks by expanding its offerings, selling not just replacement parts but also maintenance programs to commercial and government fleets looking to save money by outsourcing repairs.

Garfield describes AAR’s entrepreneurial, open-minded approach as a mindset in understanding the aviation needs of small and medium-size businesses. It’s important to keep an eye out for new opportunities and to take advantage of that built-in agility when needed.

Be responsive

Delivery of an AAR part for an aircraft can mean the difference between takeoff or a grounded flight — and potentially hundreds of stranded passengers. “Speed and reliability are incredibly important,” Garfield says. That requires building a fast, dependable supply chain network with coverage across the world.

One offering that helps AAR turn on a dime? The company keeps track of how long each aircraft it services has been flying. This lets AAR leverage its technical understanding to forecast when parts will need to be replaced on each craft. “That’s where our experience comes in,” explains Kathleen Cantillon, vice president of strategic communications for AAR.


“Speed and reliability are incredibly important.”

— Lindsay Garfield
Vice President
Sourcing and Logistics, AAR

The company also relies on the expertise of its suppliers and vendors. Ron Morrison, AAR’s FedEx account executive, is a pilot himself and understands what these parts do — and just how vital it is to move them on time.


With between 5,000 and 7,000 parts shipped each week, automation is a requirement for AAR, Garfield says.

Regardless of a company’s size, automating orders and streamlining the shipping processes reduces human errors and lays the groundwork for future growth.

With high-value parts and high-pressure deadlines, aerospace companies greatly benefit from automation tools like FedEx Ship Manager®.

Invest in tracking services

The company’s average shipment weighs only about 10 lbs. but can represent millions of dollars in parts. With such high stakes, AAR has found up-to-date tracking to be indispensable for peace of mind and for quickly resolving any possible exceptions or delays.

“Today, we primarily rely upon FedEx for tracking information,” Garfield says.

For a convenient way to monitor the status of shipments and receive automatic delivery notifications, a tracking solution like FedEx InSight® can help a company stay on top of every shipment.

Choose providers wisely

“When we do have challenges,” Cantillon says, “we need to work with providers that are willing to assist us with the account management and have the horsepower to solve our unique customer needs.”

Through mode optimization, AAR is able to identify the best means to reach its customers efficiently and cost-effectively. “FedEx has done a good job at helping us make sure that the hundreds of shipping points we have across our network are coordinated,” she adds.

“Oftentimes, our logistics provider is the final face of the company,” Cantillon explains. “We can’t be a good supply chain company without good suppliers.”

Go above and beyond

No matter your aerospace shipping needs, find helpful resources and logistics services designed to address your business challenges at FedEx® Aerospace Solutions.

From customs help to monitoring technology to helpful webinars, access tools to take your company to the next level.

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