Paris native leads aviation company into big money deal

By DAVE PHILLIPS, P-I Staff Writer


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Ron Anderson holds a model airplane at an announcement of a $3.5 billion deal between his company and Airbus. Anderson, who was born and raised in Paris, is founder and chief executive office of Intrepid Aviation in Germantown.
It’s a long way from Paris, Tenn., to Paris, France.

Ron Anderson ('67) is one person who can tell you about both cities firsthand.

Anderson, the son of the late Albert and Imogene Anderson who lived northeast of Paris, is a 1967 graduate of Grove High School.

“Paris was a great part of my upbringing, with Grove High School and First Baptist Church being big parts of that,” Anderson said.

“My parents left a great legacy on Anderson Drive.”

Anderson’s parents died about six years ago, but Anderson said that he still visits Paris “once or twice a year.”

“I have a lot of good friends, an aunt and several cousins up there,” Anderson said.

“I have fond memories of Paris, and fond memories of the (World’s Biggest) Fish Fry.”

Germantown’s Intrepid Aviation Management, of which Anderson is chief executive officer, recently spent $3.5 billion on 20 Airbus freighters at the Paris, France, air show. Anderson was there, signing off on the deal.

Intrepid buys planes and then leases them all over the world.

In the past, the company had purchased only used aircraft.

But when Airbus ran into some delays with releasing new planes, that all changed.

Airbus needed to do something to save its reputation.

Enter Intrepid into the picture.

“After studying the market for four years, we projected a substantial shortage of used planes,” Anderson said.

According to Anderson, about 75 percent of the world’s 1,900 freight planes are converted passenger planes.

The shortage of used planes on the market, combined with a difficult year of delays and bad news for Airbus, created an opportunity for Intrepid to buy new planes.

“Airbus needed good news, they came to us, and the pricing they offered was very attractive,” Anderson said. “The stars aligned for us.”

Just like that, a $3.5 billion deal for 20 A330-200s was in the works.

The A330-200 is a wide plane that has a great fuel efficiency for its size.

It can handle a large load easily, but still has the capability of carrying a lighter load without dragging the lessee down with fuel costs.

According to an Intrepid Aviation press release, the plane offers 30 percent more volume than any other plane in its class.

The company plans to send its first new plane to Toulouse, France, in early 2010. Before then, it will lease them to freight companies all over the world.

Intrepid will continue to buy used planes along with new ones for the foreseeable future.

“We’ll have a mixed portfolio of new and used planes for the next five years,” Anderson said.

Before starting Intrepid, Anderson worked 17 years for FedEx.

He fell in love with planes, learned to fly and headed up its airplane department for 12 years.

Anderson then moved to Miami, working at International Air Leases.

Several different issues, including the collapse of six different airlines tying over half of the company’s fleet up in bankruptcies, led to Anderson heading back to Memphis to begin Intrepid Aviation.

As for his life, Anderson seems to be thrilled with the way things have gone.

“I’ve met many very interesting people,” he said.

“But more important than playing golf with Jack Nicklaus was being mentored by Fred Smith,” Anderson said of his former boss, the current president and CEO of FedEx.

“I’ve got two daughters, two granddaughters, I play lots of golf and I rode my bicycle four thousand miles last year.

“I’ve had a great career.”


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Ron  Anderson


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Article reprinted from:
Paris, Tennessee
Used by permission -
From the October 11, 2007  Edition