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ASL stresses potential of Eclipse fleet
Charterer ASL is on course to be the first air services operation in Belgium to establish a fleet of very light jets. The first Eclipse 500 is expected to arrive in late spring or early summer to mark the company's 10th anniversary to be followed by a further nine Eclipses over the next few years.

Charterer ASL is on course to be the first air services operation in Belgium to establish a fleet of very light jets. The first Eclipse 500 is expected to arrive in late spring or early summer to mark the company's 10th anniversary to be followed by a further nine Eclipses over the next few years.

ASL has also taken delivery of what it believes is the first 18 passenger Beechcraft 1900D to go into service in Belgium. The event was combined with the formal opening of 1,500 sq. metres of new hangarage at Antwerp airport, where the 1900D is based. The addition increased the fleet to seven aircraft. "The 1900D is particularly special to ASL in that is the first aircraft to be owned by the company rather than managed for other owners," md Philippe Bodson told EBAN at the delivery ceremony.

The 1900D and the new hangar represent a O5 million investment. Bodson says: "The charter business is really booming now and we have to move with the market. The boom reflects general economic conditions, but we did expect to see it earlier. For some time growth was retarded by 9/11, but we are seeing huge demand now".

ASL is implementing a policy of using multifunctional aircraft and multifunctional hangarage to make the most of four growing lines of business: aircraft management and business charter for passengers and cargo; bespoke high end short breaks and leisure trips through ASL travel from June; medical repatriation in cooperation with International Medevac Services: and a new flight school for the owners of VLJs. which, says qualified pilot Philippe Bodson, are very easy to fly.

Classroom space is scheduled to be ready to receive the first pupils by the time the first Eclipse 500 is delivered. The hangar building will also accommodate a passenger lounge and business centre, offices and a formal reception area.

The 1900D can be reconfigured quickly to carry 12 vips and a steward. Facilities include a toilet, separate cargo door and separate baggage area. The range of 540nm and cruising speed of 285 knots means that it could reach the south of France in two hours. It brings much of western Europe within reach, including the ski slopes of Switzerland and Austria. The 1900D can be quickly converted into an air ambulance versatile enough to carry both critical and non-critical patients together in safety and comfort. It can also carry four stretchers in fully horizontal positions, together with all the equipment and staffing necessary to provide a flying intensive care unit.

Bodson says: "The design of the new hangar makes it possible to disembark patients inside and for them to be met under cover by a road ambulance for onward transfer. All equipment can be stored in the hangar."

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