Empire Airlines is a charter and cargo airline based in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, USA. It operates over 120 scheduled and charter cargo flights a day in 18 US states and Canada. Its main base is Coeur d'Alene Airport with a hub at Spokane International Airport.
On November 1 1980, Empire Airlines purchased West Aire, Inc. at Coeur d'Alene and expanded business to include aircraft sales and maintenance. In 1981 Empire purchased Executive Aviation in Missoula, Montana and leased Twin Otter aircraft for United States Forest Service smoke jumping contracts. In December 1983 and January 1984, Empire was awarded government contracts to transport people and materiel in Grenada, following the conflict. On January 3 1984, Empire began passenger service from Coeur d'Alene to Boise, and later added Lewiston as a stop, using Metro Liner aircraft. In the mid-80s, Empire received contracts from several places including, a Colorado ski destination, Hughes Aircraft, and Naval Arctic Research Laboratory. In 1988 Empire signed a FedEx Express contract to fly and maintain Cessna 208 Caravan aircraft out of Portland and Spokane; Seattle was added in September. In 1989 Empire became a FAR 121 operator after the purchase of Pacific Alaska and two Fairchild F27 aircraft. In August Empire started F27 services for FedEx Express.
In 1990 Empire added more cargo routes and performed its first heavy maintenance check on a Fairchild F27. In 1993, Empire became a sustaining member of CASE (Coordinating Agency for Supplier Evaluation). From October 1993 to May 1994, it operated F27 aircraft in Hawaii on behalf of Mahalo Air, while the latter airline was awaiting its own operating certificate. In 1995, Empire moved corporate offices and ended passenger services, focusing on cargo, maintenance and airline startups. Empire began sending technical reps to Conair during heavy maintenance checks on Fokker F27s. In 1998, Empire started flying and maintaining Shorts SD360 aircraft. Empire entered into a partnership agreement to begin Express Air serving FedEx in Europe.
In 2001, Empire received Repair Station certificate. In 2002, Empire purchased Reliant Logistics as a wholly owned subsidiary. In 2003, The first ATR 42 aircraft arrived in Spokane for cargo conversion. BOD accept Idaho's proposal for new hangar and office at the Coeur d'Alene Airport. In 2004, the first ATR 42 put on Empire's certificate made the first ATR FedEx Feeder revenue flight. Empire moved into new hangar and office building, in Hayden, Idaho.
The Empire Airlines fleet includes the following aircraft (at March 2007) :