Eye-Popping Growth-In Airlines?

Article excerpt

ENTREPRENEURS

HOW DO YOU MAKE money in an industry that's in deep trouble? Look at the ease of a small Atlanta-based company launched in the post-9/11 era. Frank Argcnbright saw that America's troubled airline industry would need to outsource services to cut costs and stay in operation. So after 20 years in the airline security biz, he set up Air Serv in May 2002 to de-ice planes, handle cargo, check tickets, drive carts and provide wheelchairs for major airlines.

He must be doing things right. Since then, the company now headed by CEO Jim Childs (Argenbright remains chairman) has grown from revenue of $7.2 million and 726 employees in 2002, to $94.6 million in revenue and 3,900 employees in 2004. It hired more than 1,000 new employees this year. Growth has been organic, without acquisitions, although Air Serv is looking to do that next. In April, it was honored as the fastest-growing small company in Atlanta. "Airlines are looking at everything, and some functions that they thought were core to what they do really aren't," says Chilcls. "Nothing is sacred now at the airlines. …