ASL Airlines Switzerland is seeing high demand for specific dangerous goods transportation across the globe.
Managing director, Harald Vogels tells Air Cargo Week this presents opportunities and one of ASL’s niche products is to organise the movement of specific high value goods, requiring special approvals.
On the ad-hoc charter side, Vogels says demand is a little irregular, busy one week, not the next, and adds: “We experienced a high demand for ad-hoc charters at the end of the 2015, while in Q1 2016 we flew less last minute automotive flights than usual.”
ASL Switzerland has seen business picking up after a strong end to 2015. Vogels says: “The European market has been relatively stable. The strongest growth has been on the remote operation. We have implemented a new route in West Africa.
“On the charter side we had a modest Q1 but with a strong start in April we are preparing for a busy Spring season.”
ASL operates two routes out of Switzerland into Germany for an integrator and Vogels says it has recently won the tender for the contracts again.
Vogels says ASL is operating in a very specific market providing airlift mainly for the large integrators and demand for express services in Europe has been growing “at a slow but steady pace”.
He adds: “We might see a push for larger capacity over the years as some of the routes may be required to be upgraded. As part of the global ASL Aviation Group we are ready to immediately meet any requirement for larger aircraft from our customers.”
There are challenges in Switzerland and Europe for ASL, Vogels notes such as limited space for service providers and additional capacity in the market he feels “is not sustainable”, which may lead to further consolidation while the strong Swiss Franc and strong US dollar versus the Euro has had an impact.
ASL Switzerland is looking to develop its business in the governmental and express operations sectors, and will be boosted by the Group’s fleet growing through the acquisition in the middle of this year of TNT Airways and Pan Air, adding more than 30 aircraft to its fleet, with another 20 or so operating on ACMI contracts.
As for the future, Vogels says: “From our perspective we operate regionally in a specific sector for the major express integrators. This market segment is healthy and stable, with slow but steady growth.”