ASL Buys Out Sabena’s Share Of X-air Services JV

X-air Services conducts maintenance services on ASL's Irish, French and Belgian airline fleets.
Credit: ASL Aviation Holdings

Irish aviation services group ASL Aviation Holdings has assumed full ownership of X-air Services after acquiring the 50% stake held by partner Sabena Technics in the Belgium-based MRO.

X-air is a Part 145 repair specialist which operates out of locations in Brussels and Liege, where it offers line, light and base maintenance services and technical support.

ASL’s Belgian carrier, ASL Airlines Belgium, is the operation's largest maintenance customer. X-air Services also maintains aircraft operated by ASL Aviation Holdings’ other airlines in Ireland and France.

Its facilities are used for light and heavy maintenance checks on Boeing 737-400 classic and 737-800BCF aircraft. X-air also provides some MRO services for ASL Belgium’s fleet of 747-400 freighter aircraft.

Sabena’s involvement in the X-air Services business goes back to the Belgian company’s inception in 2009. The French maintenance provider says despite offloading its share of the X-air Services business, it will look to further develop activities in the commercial and military MRO segments.

“This acquisition secures the maintenance expertise that ASL Airlines Belgium and our other airlines will need for our fleet of 737-400 classic freighter aircraft,” says Colin Grant, chief operating officer of ASL Aviation Holdings. “It will also deliver in-house maintenance capabilities for our growing fleet of B737-800 BCF.” 

“These are critical factors for ASL as we continue to develop our fleet around our customers' growth and network requirements,” Grant says. He adds that the deal will be a seamless transaction with business set to continue as usual post-acquisition. 

Neither party disclosed any financial details related to the X-air Services transaction, but Dublin-headquartered ASL had previously indicated interest in further expanding its business.

It recently signaled these growth intentions after boosting its funding by extending its debt facility with Goldman Sachs. The deal, announced earlier this month, increased its existing financial facility with the banking giant from $125 million to $200 million.

James Pozzi

As Aviation Week's MRO Editor EMEA, James Pozzi covers the latest industry news from the European region and beyond. He also writes in-depth features on the commercial aftermarket for Inside MRO.