In 1949, M. Joseph Loughran founded Airline Equipment Company to distribute pneumatic tools and accessories in Philadelphia. At that time the city had a vibrant industrial manufacturing economy with companies like Baldwin Lima Hamilton, Midvale Heppenstall and Philco employing thousands of workers. Over the years, the territory expanded and the base of loyal customers grew and urged the company to expand into the hydraulics field. In 1969, with sales approximating $3 million, the company changed its name to Airline Hydraulics Corporation. In 1970, Airline was appointed distributor for Vickers Hydraulics and several other well-known manufacturers.
In 1968, Joseph Loughran joined the firm and in 1972 opened the Company’s first branch in Baltimore, MD. The company continued to grow and prosper into the 80’s.
In March, 1981, Joseph and his brother, Robert, purchased the Company stock from their father, who retired from the business. In 1986, Joseph bought out his younger brother’s interest in the business to become sole shareholder.
As our capabilities and positive reputation grew, customers demanded solutions to a wider array of machine problems, so Airline further broadened its product offering to include automation products such as sensors, PLC’s and motion control products from Omron Electronics, SMC Pneumatics and many others. As the demand for hydraulic and pneumatic products and services grew, branch operations were established in York, PA; Bethlehem, PA; Ocean View, NJ; Edison, NJ; N. Billerica, MA and, most recently, Rochester NY.
In August, 1996, Airline hired approximately 70% of the workforce from Nick’s Hydraulics, in Oceanview, NJ. Nick’s Hydraulics ceased operations the following year and our newly created marine and mobile group moved into our present manufacturing and distribution location. They have grown consistently to approximately $10 million in annual revenues as a distributor of Braden Gearmatic and Pullmaster winch products and provide excellent field service capabilities to this unique market.
In 1998, revenues grew to over $40,000,000 with 150 employees actively serving over 5,000 customers in the industrial, mobile, marine and utility marketplace.
1998 was also significant in that it was the year Mannesmann Rexroth (now Bosch Rexroth) appointed Airline as their distributor in the mid Atlantic states. The change from Vickers to Rexroth was considered a bold move by industry insiders because we were terminating a successful 30 year relationship with the leading US manufacturer of fluid power products to join forces with a German manufacturer who was rapidly gaining US market share. Both Airline and Rexroth have made major commitments to be the leading provider of fluid power and automation equipment in the region. Airline’s investment in sales and engineering resources was rewarded when Rexroth eventually terminated approximately 20 distributors in the northeast in order to consolidate distribution and strengthen our partnership.
In 2000, Airline was asked by Rexroth to develop the New England marketplace, replacing two underperforming distributors. This resulted in the creation of our Fitchburg, MA office which in 1/07 relocated to North Billerica, MA.
In 2002, as part of an asset purchase agreement, Airline acquired the services of the key personnel at Weinman Pump and Supply in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and New York State. As a result, Bosch Rexroth and other manufacturers named Airline as their distributor in this marketplace adding approximately $5 million in annual revenues.
In February, 2005, Airline and JLS Automation, York, PA, entered into an asset purchase agreement whereby Rexroth would transfer the distribution rights to the Bosch Rexroth motion control product line to Airline. This added roughly $7 million annually to our sales and was a significant statement to the market place that Airline was a top tier distributor in the growing motion control market.
In 2005, Airline Hydraulics became 100% Employee owned company or ESOP Company, with revenues approximating $75 million annually.
In 2008, Airline acquired certain assets of Phenix Automation in Rochester, New York and T Motion, also in Rochester. Airline was appointed exclusive distributor for all Rexroth automation products and opened a branch location in Rochester, NY. Airline now employs a staff of application engineers and designers in New York State.
In May 2010, Joseph A. Miceli was named as the new Chief Executive Officer of Airline Hydraulics Corporation. Joseph Loughran remains as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
In January 2011, Airline acquired the shares of Fluid Power Automation LLC, a technology distributor located in North Kingston, RI.
In January 2012, Airline completed the acquisition of Innovative Automation & Controls Inc., an electrical controls and automation components
distributor located in Owings Mills, Maryland. IACI, which has been in business since 2003, services the
industrial market in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, representing and partnering with
manufacturers that focus on quality, reliability and innovation.
Today in both the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions, Airline is a valued partner to many progressive companies, not only as a source for products, but as a resource for their purchasing, engineering and maintenance personnel. Our 200+ employees at our office locations throughout the Northeast work hard every day to make our corporate vision a reality... to be the preferred provider of quality technology-driven solutions, products and services, while thriving as an employee-owned company.