Published on June 4th, 2015 | by Jim Lee


Dublin based ASL group drives future growth with launch of European Airline brand

On 4th June, Dublin based ASL Aviation Group announced the launch a new European airline brand, ASL Airlines, as part of its strategy for continued growth in passenger and cargo operations.

ASL’s four European airlines are to be renamed under the new ASL Airlines brand and there will be four airline operations ‘centres of excellence’ in Ireland, France, Switzerland and Hungary.

Air Contractors           will become              ASL Airlines Ireland

Europe Airpost           will become              ASL Airlines France

Farnair Switzerland    will become              ASL Airlines Switzerland

Farnair Hungary          will become              ASL Airlines Hungary

The ASL Group, which employs 1,500 globally, will continue to be based at its Corporate Support Office in Swords, County Dublin and will be led by Group Chief Executive, Hugh Flynn.

The total ASL fleet is around 100 aircraft, (which depends on leasing arrangements), of which 75 aircraft are flying in Europe and in future will operate as ‘ASL Airlines’. Some of these aircraft will be painted in airline customer colours while the rest will soon start to become visible in Europe’s airports in the new ASL Airlines livery.

The strategy, named ‘Platform for Growth’, is an initiative aimed building on ASL’s leading role in various express integrator, passenger and postal markets in Europe.

Air Contractors ATR EI-SLA (IMG1299 JL)

The ATR 42 operates on cargo contracts for Air Contractors

ASL will also expand its global presence through its interest in Safair in South Africa and cargo airlines K-Mile in Thailand and QuikJet in India where ASL had previously announced that its shareholding is to increase to 72.59%. ASL Aviation had held a 50.93% shareholding in Quikjet through Farnair and it will increase its stake in a series of steps involving a minimum total foreign direct investment of INR144 million (USD2.25million). ASL last year said it would equip Quikjet with a fleet of Boeing 737 and ATR freighters for an upcoming integrator contract slated to commence during the next quarter of the year. Its shareholding in K-Mile Air based in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi is limited to a 45% stake.

The aim of the new brand and identity

The new ASL Airlines brand and identity will achieve a number of key strategic aims:

  • The creation of an evolutionary new identity and brand image
  • A progressive transition from the current ASL Aviation Group identity
  • Show a clear and consistent link between ASL Aviation Group and the 4 airlines
  • Reflect key selling points of trust, reliability, size and credibility
  • Affirm ASL’s commitment to our value proposition to our customers
  • Enable us to enhance optimisation across the group
  • Increase the competitiveness of each airline in the market

“Our intent is to have a new strong single brand that will play a major role in helping us to achieve our vision and mission and reflect our corporate values in our business”, said ASL Group Chief Executive, Hugh Flynn.

“This strong single brand will make it considerably easier to use the aircraft of the European fleet across the individual countries to meet customer demand and this increased fleet flexibility and consequent competitiveness will enable us to grow our business”, he added.

He went on to explain that ASL’s optimisation potential will include the creation of ‘Centres of Excellence’, reducing cost and improving safety, reliability, quality and profitability, 4 of ASL’s 5 corporate values.

“In addition”, he said. “there will be increased security of employment, job satisfaction and challenge for all of the people of ASL, our 5th corporate value, and the most important after safety,”, Hugh Flynn concluded.

A 5th operations ‘centre of excellence’ in South Africa will oversee the continued growth in Safair, the specialist humanitarian Hercules operator; FlySafair, South Africa’s first ‘true’ low cost airline launched in October 2014 and the two Asian airlines. ASL’s aircraft leasing platforms will also continue to be based in Dublin.

To facilitate the ‘Platform for Growth’ strategy the ASL Group is being restructured into two divisions, European Airlines and Rest of the World Airlines and Leasing.


Current Chief Executive of Air Contractors Colin Grant will become Chief Executive of the new European Airline’s division and will be based in Dublin.

The current CEO of Safair, Dave Andrew, will become Chief Executive of the new Rest of the World Airlines and Leasing Division and will be based between Johannesburg and Dublin.

‘Platform for Growth’ will see ASL increase the number of aircraft in its combined cargo and passenger fleets. Aircraft will also be transferred throughout the group to facilitate the airlines and their ‘centres of excellence’ becoming specialists in operating specific aircraft types.

The four European airlines to be rebranded ASL Airlines currently operate throughout Europe for the leading express freight integrators and for postal services in France and the UK from hubs in France and Germany and between bases throughout the continent from Norway to Greece.

Passenger services are also operated under the airlines own brand from Switzerland and Dublin while the Irish airline, Air Contractors, operates three passenger Boeing 757’s on daily transatlantic flights from Dublin and Shannon to Canada and the United States.

The four European airlines

Air Contractors – ASL Airlines Ireland: The Irish Airline, Air Contractors, will be rebranded as ‘ASL Airlines’ Ireland. The news comes as the airline won the prestigious ‘Aircraft Operator of the Year’ award at the Irish Aviation Authority sponsored Irish Aviation Awards.

Air Contractors operates Boeing 757 transatlantic passenger services from Shannon and Dublin to North America for Aer Lingus and also operates Boeing 737 charter passenger services throughout Europe from Dublin, Shannon, Cork and Knock Airports.


The Boeing 757’s in the Air Contractors fleet operate transatlantic services under contract for Aer Lingus.

The airline also operates a fleet of turbo prop and jet aircraft for express parcel integrators throughout Europe and the Middle East.

As noted in the Register section, Air Contractors officially changed their registered name on the aircraft register with the registered owner of each of their aircraft amended to ASL Airlines Ireland Ltd on 15th May. The aircraft are as follows:-

EI-EXR       Airbus A300 B4-622R, (c/n 677),

EI-EYK       Airbus A300 B4-622R, (c/n 743),

EI-FXA       ATR 42-300, (c/n 282),

EI-FXB       ATR 42-300, (c/n 243),

EI-FXC       ATR 42-300, (c/n 310),

EI-FXD       ATR 42-300, (c/n 273),

EI-FXE        ATR 42-300, (c/n 327),

EI-FXG       ATR 72-202, (c/n 224),

EI-FXH       ATR 72-202, (c/n 229),

EI-FXI         ATR 72-202, (c/n 294),

EI-FXJ        ATR 72-202, (c/n 292),

EI-FXK       ATR 72-202, (c/n 256),

EI-LBR       Boeing 757-2Q8, (c/n 28167),

EI-LBS       Boeing 757-2Q8, (c/n 27623),

EI-LBT        Boeing 757-2Q8, (c/n 28170),

EI-ONL       Airbus A320-214, (c/n 4489),

EI-REJ        ATR 72-201, (c/n 126),

EI-SLA       ATR 42-300, (c/n 149),

EI-SLF        ATR 72-201, (c/n 210),

EI-SLG       ATR 72-202, (c/n 183),

EI-SLH       ATR 72-202, (c/n 157),

EI-SLJ        ATR 72-201, (c/n 324),

EI-SLK       ATR 72-212, (c/n 395),

EI-SLO       ATR 42-320, (c/n 121),

EI-STA       Boeing 737-31S, (c/n 29057),

EI-STB       Boeing 737-476, (c/n 24440),

EI-STC       Boeing 737-476, (c/n 24446),

EI-STH       Boeing 737-429, (c/n 25729),


Boeing 737-300 EI-STA has recently been repaint from the yellow ‘Europe Airpost’ scheme into basic Air Contractors markings.

Europe Airpost – ASL Airlines France: Paris CDG based Europe Airpost will be rebranded as ‘ASL Airlines’ France. The airline operates a fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft on passenger and cargo services and is the exclusive operator for La Poste, the French Post Office. We will review the Europe Airpost fleet in a separate item on the ASL annual accounts.

Europe Airpost flies passenger charter services for tour operators throughout Europe and special VIP flights to Africa. The airline also has a number of scheduled routes serving France, Austria and Portugal and also flies seasonal B737-700 transatlantic passenger flights from Paris CDG to Halifax. N.S. in Canada via Dublin.

Europe Airpost Boeing 737-700(2)

The Boeing 737-700 of will operate the new Paris-Dublin-Halifax service this summer

Farnair Europe – ASL Airlines Switzerland and ASL Airlines Hungary: The two European airlines in the Farnair Group will be rebranded as ASL Airlines Switzerland and ASL Airlines Hungary. Farnair operates a fleet of turbo prop and jet aircraft for express parcel integrators throughout Europe and also operates cargo turbo prop services in Africa. Farnair also operates ATR42 passenger services. Farnair’s joint venture airlines in Asia, Quikjet in India and K-Mile in Thailand are not included in the rebranding initiative. We will review the Farnair fleet in a separate item on the ASL annual accounts.

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About the Author

Jim has had a life-long interest in military matters and aviation. Initially, he fused both of these interests together with a passion for military aviation, initially as a photographer. He has travelled extensively over the years and has been the guest of many European air forces, plus the air forces of the United States, Russia and others throughout the world. His first introduction to journalism coincided with an interest in the civil aviation industry was when he initially wrote for and later edited, ‘Aviation Ireland’, the club magazine of the Aviation Society of Ireland. Jim was a contributor to Flying in Ireland since its inception over 10 years ago and is now a key contributor to this site. He has also contributed items for a number of other aviation magazines and has produced a number of detailed contributions to Government policy documents, most recently the Irish Government’s White Paper on Defence. He is also deeply involved in the local community and voluntary sector and has worked both in local government and central government.

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