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Roy Liljebeck (206) 281-1003
SEATTLE -- April 27, 1998
Airborne Freight Corporation (NYSE: ABF), which operates under the trade name Airborne Express, today reported first quarter net earnings of $32,360,000, or $.63 per share on a diluted basis. This compares to net earnings of $14,374,000, or $.31 per share for the same period last year.

Total revenues for first quarter were $750,193,000, an increase of 14.5 percent over 1997 first quarter revenues of $655,522,000. Domestic revenues were up 18 percent at $662,518,000, compared to last year’s figure of $562,111,000. International revenues for this period decreased 6 percent and were $87,675,000 compared to $93,411,000 in 1997.

The total number of shipments for the first quarter increased 15.5 percent to 79,743,000. Domestic shipments were 78,244,000, up 15.5 percent and international shipments were 1,499,000, an increase of 15.5 percent over 1997 results.

"The first quarter operating margin of 7.7 percent is the strongest first quarter performance ever experienced by Airborne," said Chief Financial Officer Roy Liljebeck. "It was achieved with strong growth in the domestic business and continuing improvement on the cost side of the business."

"Domestic revenue increased 18 percent on a 15.5 percent growth in domestic shipments," Liljebeck continued. "The strong revenue growth in relation to shipment growth is attributable to continuing strength in the higher yielding overnight product, selective rate increases in the last year, and a slightly heavier average weight per domestic shipment.

"On the cost side, the operating cost per shipment improved 3.8 percent in the first quarter, aided by a 6.8 percent improvement in productivity and an average jet fuel price of $.621, the lowest rate experienced in over two years," continued Liljebeck.

"The international business experienced some weakness in the first quarter with freight shipments-the heavier weight and higher revenue per shipment segment-decreasing 5 percent versus the first quarter of 1997, resulting in a 6 percent decrease in total international revenue, primarily a result of the financial trouble in Asia. Fortunately, the international small package express business remained strong, increasing 17.5 percent, and while this business does not drive total international revenue appreciably, it does have strong margins and absorbs a good deal of the shrinkage in the international freight business," concluded Liljebeck.

For more than 50 years, Airborne Express has served shipping needs of business customers around the world. Today, Airborne offers total distribution solutions by providing time-sensitive delivery of documents, letters, small packages, and freight to virtually every U.S. ZIP code and more than 200 countries. Customers can select from a variety of services including same-day, next-morning, next-afternoon or second-day delivery, ocean service, and logistics management.

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