ASL Aviation Group acquires operations of TNT Express

Total employment at the Irish airline will now rise to 2,500

 

Barry O’Halloran

Irish-based ASL Aviation is taking over TNT’s European airlines in a deal linked to the logstics’ group’s $4.8 billion purchase by rival Fedex.

US giant Fedex is set to buy TNT this week for $4.8 billion after its offer became unconditional on Friday.

As part of the transaction, ASL Aviation, which has strong ties with Fedex, is taking over TNT’s European airlines, TNT Airways Belgium and Pan Air Líneas Aéreas Spain.

ASL is buying the two freight carriers as European Commission rules ban non-EU companies from owning more than 49 per cent of any EU-registered airline.

The sale was originally agreed in February, but depended on the Fedex offer becoming unconditional, which happened last week after more than 88 per cent of TNT shareholders signalled their acceptance.

ASL had to take over the two airlines ahead of the bigger transaction going through, as otherwise the new Fedex-TNT group would have found itself in breach of the EU airline ownership rules.

Along with the deal, Dublin-headquartered ASL Aviation has agreed to operate the flights for Fedex-TNT, which means that it effectively takes over the operations. The Irish airline group will continue to work for its other clients.

The deal went through on Tuesday and the two airlines’ 580 staff have transferred to ASL, bringing total employment at the Irish airline to 2,500. Neither side revealed the price at which the deal was done.

ASL is also taking over the TNT carriers’ facilities in Liege, Belgium and Madrid, Spain. Along with the 35 craft that they own, the Irish company plans to keep contracts with other airlines which fly 20 planes for TNT.

This brings the Irish airline’s operating fleet to more than 150 craft, ranging from ATR42 tuboprops to Boeing 747 jets. It owns more than 130 of the planes itself.

ASL has nine airlines as well as aviation support businesses in Europe, Africa and Asia, where it operates both passenger and cargo flights under its own brands and those of a range of its customers.

Chief executive, Hugh Flynn, said that the purchase was a “key strategic step in the continued growth of ASL Aviation Group”. He pointed out that the company has been providing services to both Fedex and TNT since the early ’nineties.

Tex Gunning, chief executive of TNT, said that the group was looking forward to workling with ASL.

The Irish group has pledged that there will be no break in service. After the deal went through, the planes that were previously TNT Airlines craft took off on their normal routes on Tuesday as ASL craft.

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