Our History

ASL Aviation Holdings is a global aviation company

ASL Aviation Holdings was formally established as ASL Aviation Group in June 2008 and its origins date back to 1970

ASL Aviation Holdings was formally established as ASL Aviation Group in June 2008 and its origins date back to 1970 in South Africa when Safmarine acquired Tropair (Pty) Ltd., changing its name to Safair Freighters (Pty) Ltd and to 1972 when Air Bridge Carriers (ABC) was formed in the United Kingdom.

Originally operating with four Armstrong Whitworth Argosy aircraft that flew fresh produce from the Channel Islands, Air Bridge Carriers service was soon supplemented by ad-hoc charter work specialising in ‘awkward loads’ including aircraft engines and heavy machinery for the developing North Sea oil fields.

1970
Safmarine acquired Tropair (Pty) Ltd.
Changing its name to Safair Freighters (Pty) Ltd.
1970
1970
1972
Air Bridge Carriers (ABC) was formed
ASL’s history dates back to 1972 when Air Bridge Carriers was formed at East Midlands Airport in the United Kingdom.
1972
1972
1972
The Hunting Group Acquires ABC
Our fleet was enhanced further with the introduction of several Boeing 727 and Lockheed Electra aircraft, the majority of which were placed on the Irish register.
1972
1972
1976
ABC Welcomes Its First Vickers Merchantman Aircraft
This heralded an introduction to new markets, such as fresh fruit flights through the Gulf and the Middle East, as well as overnight newspaper flights.
1976
1976
1980's
Overnight Express Parcel Business
The overnight express parcels business was in its infancy in Europe and ABC was ideally placed to take advantage of this. TNT, FedEx, DHL and UPS were all nightly customers of the carrier.
1980
1980's
1992
Air Bridge Carriers Becomes Hunting Cargo Airlines
The Hunting Group rebranded all its subsidiaries, and Air Bridge changed overnight to Hunting Cargo Airlines with a bold new corporate image.
1992
1992
1994
Safair Freighters (Pty) Ltd. was renamed Safair (Pty) Ltd.
1994
1994
1997
Irish Hub Established
All the airline’s operations are transferred to Ireland and the airline introduced its first Airbus A300-B4 to the fleet.
1997
1997
1998
Hunting Cargo Airlines Is Re-Named Air Contractors
1998
1998
1998
Hunting Group Sells Its Aviation-Related Companies
The airline was sold to a consortium comprising Compagnie Maritime Belge NV from Belgium (CMB) and Safair (Pty) Ltd based in South Africa, part of the Imperial Group.
1998
1998
2007
3P Airfreighters acquires the Imperial Group divested itself of all aviation-related businesses
2007
2007
2008
ASL Aviation Group Is Formed
All operators are coordinated under a single identity.
2008
2008
2010
Acquisition of the Safair Group
A move that included its leasing and airline operations based in South Africa and in 2013, Safair introduced a BBEE (Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment) programme, allowing ASL to retain a minority shareholding in the South African company.
2010
2010
Safair established a new low-cost airline in South Africa, FlySafair
2013
2014
Launch of FlySafair Operations
The airline quickly created a sea-change in the domestic market and was profitable by year two. By October 2018, after just four years in operation, FlySafair had gained an 18% share of the South African domestic market.
2014
2014
2014
Acquisition of the Farnair Group in Switzerland
This increased the number of affiliate airlines in ASL to seven and saw a further increase in aircraft owned and/or operated in the fleet to over 100.
2014
2014
2015
The ASL Aviation Group’s European airlines rebranded as ASL Airlines
Air Contractors becomes ASL Airlines Ireland, Europe Airpost becomes ASL Airlines France and Farnair Switzerland, and Farnair Hungary becomes ASL Airlines Switzerland and ASL Airlines Hungary, respectively.
2015
2015
2016
ASL Aviation further expands its portfolio to Belgium and Spain
Acquisition of airline operations in TNT Express N.V., comprising TNT Airways (Belgium) and Pan Air Líneas Aéreas (Spain). These two airlines were renamed ASL Airlines Belgium and ASL Airlines Spain, respectively and increased the total number of airlines within the Group to nine.
2016
2016
2017
ASL Aviation Group Renamed ASL Aviation Holdings
2017
2017
ASL Aviation Holdings Reached a Revenue Milestone Of $1 Billion For the First Time
2017
2018
Group Restructuring
The Group continued to position itself for continued future growth, restructuring its airlines to increase efficiency, remove duplication and create centres of excellence. This meant that ASL Airlines Spain was closed, and ASL Airlines Switzerland was integrated into ASL Airlines Ireland.
2018
2018
2019
ASL Aviation Holdings Acquired By Star Capital Partnership LLC
2019
2019
2021
ASL’s Newest Cargo Airline, ASL Airlines United Kingdom is Launched.
ASL UK will be closely aligned with ASL Airlines Ireland with common SOPs and shared support services.
2021
2021
2022
ASL Assumes Full Ownership of X-air services, now ASL Maintenance
The Liège and Brussels-based maintenance organisation had been jointly owned on a fifty-fifty basis by ASL and Sabena technics
2022
2022
2022
FlySafair has grown to become the market leader in South Africa
ASL associate airline grows with a 50% domestic market share.
2022
2022
2022
K-Mile Asia grows its fleet with the introduction of B737-800BCF aircraft
2022
2022
2023
Quikjet Airlines Relaunches Operations
The airline operates a domestic network using Quikjet’s fleet of two Boeing 737-800BCF freighter aircraft.
2023
2023
2023
ASLI Subsidiary, ASL Future Flight, Receives Its Commercial Drone Licence
ASL Airlines Ireland subsidiary, ASL Future Flight, has been awarded a Light UAS Aircraft Systems Operator Certificate (LUC) by the Irish Aviation Authority.
2023
2023
2023
ASL acquired Australian airline, Pionair, now ASL Airlines Australia
This acquisition makes Pionair, ASL’s eighth airline in the ASL Group.
2023
2023
2023
ASL Airlines United Kingdom’s first B737-800BCF entered service and operated its first revenue service
2023
2023
2024
ASL Airlines Australia receives its first B737-800BCF aircraft
2024
2024