The Irish ASL Aviation Holdings has reached a deal with investment banker Goldman Sachs, spilling US$125 million into the airline group’s coffers. The agreement closes a new debt facility making funds available to ASL to be drawn as required by the Dublin-based holding.
According to ASL’s Chief Financial Officer, Mark O’Kelly, the Group will use the money to partially finance its current medium-haul fleet replacement program. Only a month ago, and in expectation
of the positive outcome of the negotiations with lender Goldman Sachs, ASL had announced the confirmation of options for 10 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) slots with Boeing. A total of
20 Boeing 737-800 aircraft will now be converted by the end of 2022, with the first 3 aircraft already delivered and aircraft number 4 due in the second half of April.
“This new debt facility provides ASL with both stability and flexibility,” commented CFO Mark O’Kelly. “It builds on our financial infrastructure to facilitate future capital expenditure and also enables us to manage our debt profile in Europe as required, as the aviation industry works its way through the enduring effects of the pandemic.” In a release, the Group points out that during the Covid-19 crisis, ASL maintained a utilization ratio of nearly 80% of its total fleet of 140 aircraft. Due to this fact coupled with measures initiated by the management to safeguard jobs, the Group succeeded in retaining all 2,500 staff, with no Covid related redundancies.
The younger the fleet, the lower its CO2 emissions
The Group member airlines “have continued to operate throughout the pandemic, carrying personal protection equipment and vaccines as well as industrial, business, and personal goods that have been key for both the European economy and the well-being of citizens across Europe and the UK,” emphasizes Dave Andrew, ASL Aviation Holdings Chief Executive. “It is very pleasing to see that a distinguished global financial institution like Goldman Sachs supports our market plans and positioning, and feels that our confidence in the future is well founded.”
Further to this, the executive touched environmental issues recalling efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions wherever possible: “the global aviation industry has been devastated and a full recovery will take time, but ASL is gearing for growth in Europe while undertaking a fleet renewal program that will reduce our fuel use and carbon emissions as we are committed to our industry target of net-zero emissions by 2050.”
One Group – five airlines
Currently, 5 European airlines fly under the umbrella of ASL Aviation Holdings. These are: ASL Airlines Ireland, ASL Airlines Belgium, ASL Airlines Hungary, and ASL Airlines France. All 4 serve cargo networks for leading express parcel and online retailer customers in Europe. The Irish and Belgian subsidiaries also operate both customer and own brand scheduled trans-continental flights, while ASL Airlines France is included in the special repatriation charter program bringing back French nationals from Algeria to France.
The fifth in the group is newcomer ASL Airlines United Kingdom that began operating at the end of MAR20 with a single ATR72-200 freighter aircraft serving the East Midlands to Belfast route, but confirmed plans to CargoForwarder Global to grow the fleet. ASL UK was the first fixed-wing airline to be granted an Operating License and Air Operators Certificate by the UK Civil Aviation Authority since Brexit.
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