Belgian private jet company ASL and Liege Airport have signed a contract for the construction and operation of a hangar and a business aviation terminal, as well as the exclusive provision of ground handling services for all business flights operating at Liege.
The contract was awarded to ASL following a call for tenders, which it won in September 2018, and marks another step in the ASL Group's move into the FBO services sector. Last year, the company acquired the former Ground ACE FBO at Groningen airport in the Netherlands and in March this year began offering ground handling services from Antwerp in Belgium.
In order to accommodate these buildings, an apron is being constructed at the north of the airport site on which ASL plans to build an initial hangar covering 2,100 sqm. and an general aviation terminal (GAT) with an area of 250 sqm. This hangar and terminal will exclusively serve private and business flights. In addition to the ASL staff offices, the business aviation terminal will include a reception lounge for passengers and crews.
The contract between ASL and Liege Airport also includes the option for ASL to build additional hangars around the new apron should demand require it. Due to its location at the airport and its isolation from the airport's other commercial cargo and passenger aviation activities, the terminal will have direct access to the apron and aircraft parking areas, thus offering a level of comfort, security, confidentiality and efficiency specific to business aviation.
Under the terms of the contract ASL will also offer handling services to business aviation customers, including both commercial and private operators. These include aircraft parking, the reception and care of passengers and crews, fuelling, catering, the provision of waiting, relaxation and work areas or lounges for passengers and crews and coordination of customs services.
The apron is expected to be completed in May 2019, while construction of the GAT and ASL hangar will begin in late summer 2019, with the inauguration planned for the summer of 2020.
Liege airport CEO Luc Partoune says: “Business aviation is a growing niche segment at our airport. Last year, more than 3,000 passengers used private jet services, an increase of 24 per cent compared to 2017. The advantages of this new terminal, open 24 hours a day, will be speed, discretion and flexibility. The business aviation centre will be directly connected with the motorway and will allow entrepreneurs, executives and investors to move around quickly.”
ASL Group CEO Philippe Bodson adds: “On the one hand, it is a very symbolic project for our company, whose full name is Air Service Liege. Actually, it was right here, at the airport of Liege, that everything began almost 25 years ago, with our very first aircraft. We now have 35 and it is therefore a real homecoming to set up our business project at this airport that is full of assets for our activities.
“Besides the symbolic aspect that is so dear to me, this is also a very important economic project for us and for our Liege airport partners. We want to make Liege a modern and exemplary hub for business aviation in Europe.”