Here, we start from scratch: we make up the planning, the crew and organise the flight. At ASL, we sell charter flights, but we also have aircraft owners come to us and say, “On that day, we want to fly to this destination, with this catering and that type of car upon arrival.” And on that basis, we get to work.
It’s our job to match everything: if the owner wants to fly at a given time, we have to obtain [landing and takeoff] slots accordingly. Once that’s done, we start the actual dispatching, which means establishing the flight plan and finding the best route: the shortest route that will burn the least fuel. And then on the day itself, when the flight happens, we have colleagues in Amsterdam who follow the flight live.
Flexibility is key
I do the planning for the fleet – the Operations Control Centre (OCC) is the heart of the company. It’s not like commercial aviation where you know your schedule two weeks in advance. In Business Aviation, you might get only two hours’ notice, so you have to jump into action really quickly.
At ASL Group, we have 14 different types of aircraft, each with their own characteristics, so everything is always different: different passengers, different destinations, small airfields, long airfields, long-haul flights, short hops… Half of Business Aviation is big companies that want to fly everywhere in the world, but there are also lots of private owners who want to fly wherever they like, whether for business or pleasure.
It isn’t cheap, of course, but you can fly privately for a good price. There are a lot of companies that just can’t waste time waiting in an airport for hours. Time is money: that represents Business Aviation.
Business Aviation is evolving
Over the last four years we have grown exponentially, and it’s a market that will keep growing. Business Aviation is now accessible for a lot of people who unfortunately still don’t know that it’s available to them; so I expect as they learn more, things are going to keep moving.
ASL Group is a European business aircraft operator with a head office in Belgium and home bases in various airports across the Benelux. Together with its sister company JetNetherlands, ASL operates a fleet of more than 30 aircraft. The company is specialized in aircraft management, VIP and executive charter, medical flights, relay flights, and consultancy services.