ASL Airlines Ireland, formerly Air Contractors, is Europe’s leading aircraft operator specialising in aviation services and fleet management.
Selected as the launch operator for DHL and the A300B4 fleet, FedEx and the “Damp Lease” model in Europe, and also the launch partner for DHL Air and its Boeing 757 fleet, ASL Airlines Ireland has consistently proved exceptional skills and the flexibility required to fit the customer network needs.
Now, as the largest ATR operator for FedEx outside North America, ASL Airlines Ireland continues to grow with the support of strong shareholders and group cooperation to maintain the market position as the leading “fleet managers” in Europe.
- 1972 Air Bridge Carriers formed with four Argosy freight aircraft flying fresh produce from Channel Islands to the UK
- 1976 Arrival of Merchantman aircraft and expansion across Europe and the Middle East with fresh produce flight. Entry into the nightly express parcel business flying in the early 80’s with DHL, FedEx, TNT & UPS amongst the customers.
- 1990 Formation of Elan Air with DHL using the Merchantman aircraft
- 1992 Hunting group re-brand the aviation branch to become Hunting Cargo Airlines and obtain an Irish A.O.C with a fleet of Boeing 727 and Lockheed Electra aircraft placed on the Irish register
- 1996 Boeing 727 begins operating for DHL/TNT and in the latter half of the year the complete transfer of all aircraft to the Irish A.O.C and the move to an Irish operation begins
- 1997 The transfer of all airline operations to Ireland is complete
- 1998 Hunting group sell the aviation arm to a joint consortium of CMB and Safair (part of the Imperial group) and the airline is re-branded as Air Contractors. This year also saw the introduction of the Airbus A300B4 freight aircraft for DHL, with the fleet rising quickly to 11
- 2002 The commencement of ATR operations for FedEx in Europe
- 2004 The acquisition of the BAC group was completed
- 2007 Imperial transfer shareholding to CMB and 3P Air Freighters/Petercam
- 2008 Acquisition of Europe Airpost by Air Contractors and the formation of the ASL Aviation Group
- 2009 Re-introduction of the A300B4 fleet for DHL operating 13 aircraft in the EMEA region
- 2010 Air Contractors enter a new era with the start of passenger flying on a Boeing 737-300 aircraft in conjunction with group partner Europe Airpost
- 2012 Air Contractors begins flying Boeing 737 freighter aircraft for DHL in Europe, and Airbus A300-600 freight operations on behalf of Air Hong Kong with bases in Hong Kong and Penang
- 2014 Air Contractors commences flights for Aer Lingus with three Boeing 757 aircraft on transatlantic routes between Ireland and New York, Boston and Toronto.
- 2014 Farnair Group joins the ASL Aviation Group of companies.
- 2015 Air Contractors is renamed ASL Airlines Ireland. Under the new ASL Airlines brand there will be 4 airline operations ‘centres of excellence’ in Ireland, France, Switzerland and Hungary.