Will the changes in ownership at West Atlantic and ASL Aviation lead to some shedding of AOCs and other changes in the European contract airline landscape?
Following the acquisition of West Atlantic by Spain-based Swiftair parent LUSAT, the combined group will have five airlines in Spain, Greece, Sweden and the UK, operating a combined active fleet of about eighty EMB-120s, ATP, ATRs, CRJs, 737s, 757s and 767s.
Meanwhile, ASL Aviation Group, which was acquired by Star Capital in June, has a total of four European airlines in Belgium, Ireland, France and Hungary, plus stakes in Malaysia-based K-Mile and South Africa-based Safair. In Europe alone, the Group operates approximately 100 aircraft from ATRs up to 737s, 757s, A300s, A330s and 747s.
How many European AOCs do these companies actually need? There are definitely some changes afoot in Europe. Earlier this week, The Loadstar reported that Star Capital is considering divesting the French branch of ASL, ASL Airlines France, which the publication reported French forwarder Bansard may acquire.
Other considerations include the recent memorandum of understanding ASL signed with Boeing for a firm order of ten 737-800BCFs and purchase rights for an additional ten, as well as the appointment of Charles Graham as chairman. Graham was previously CEO of DHL Aviation and active in the aircraft leasing business. At the same time, we see Amazon gearing up for a potential wide-scale expansion of its air network in Europe. Stay tuned!