TNT Express signed an agreement with ASL Aviation Group under which ASL will acquire TNT’s two airlines — TNT Airways, and Pan Air Líneas Aéreas, thus clearing one of the big hurdles on the path to the proposed UPS takeover of TNT. We don’t know what other conditions the EC is planning to impose on the takeover, but given that foreign ownership of a European airline is not permitted, the disposal of TNT’s two owned carriers was certainly at the top of the list.
Regarding the sale, ASL said: “TNT Airways (based in Belgium) and Pan Air Líneas Aéreas (based in Spain) will be added to the existing air transportation activities of the ASL Group. The addition of these two companies to our other carriers – Air Contractors, Europe Airpost and Safair – will bring the number of airlines in the Group to a total of five.”
“From the outset post-closing, ASL will take over all flights performed by TNT Express’ airlines. ASL has entered into a service contract that will allow TNT Express to maintain service continuity as their air networks gradually integrate. ASL will become a key third-party provider of the combined UPS-TNT group post-closing and will be invited to bid for all of UPS’s outsourced air business in Europe when this becomes open to tender.”
ASL’s three carriers operate a mixed fleet of narrowbody and widebody, jet and turboprop freighters (some in support of DHL). TNT’s carriers operate all jets, but in a mixture of narrowbody and widebody types. The chart below shows a snapshot of the current composition of the five fleets, but this is likely to change rapidly. We believe ASL plans to add more 737-400Fs and possibly combis, and we question whether the 747-400ERFs and 777Fs will remain for long.