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Astraeus goes lease-only

9th October 2008 - 01:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Independent airline Astraeus has completed its switch from scheduled and charter services to a 100% aircraft provision and leasing business.

The major part of its fleet of Boeing 737 and 757 aircraft have now been almost completely committed through to the end of 2010, with additional equipment under final negotiation to address planned and developing opportunities.

"We have successful re-defined Astraeus as being focused on airline operations and development support -and while we are currently providing dry, damp or wet-lease aircraft to a number of established carriers, we are also in negotiation with a number of potential start-ups," said Mario Fulgoni, Chief Executive of Astraeus.

"While the majority of the fleet is contracted out, we are ensuring we maintain a degree of flexibility by retaining ad-hoc aircraft - which meant we were able to assist in rescuing travelers in the wake of the XL collapse, for instance - and enabling us to provide short-notice cover if operators have an urgent requirement.

"Interestingly, we have been engaged by a number of air travel and aviation-based businesses and advisers to provide consultancy and viability studies both for brand new businesses being considered by seasoned air industry professionals, and existing operators looking to modify their current operations.

"These opportunities and arrangements are on a worldwide footing, and it is becoming clear that we are in a position in which we are equally capable of supporting short-haul low-cost or full service long-haul operations.

"Our senior management team has massive experience and expertise and we are well established as a reliable provider of aircraft, meaning that we fully appreciate the core essentials of safety and resource management.

"The airlines with whom we work - and have worked with for many years - recognise that we are able to provide a strategic cost-saving, but that we also treat their resources, fuel and so on, as if they were our own.

"We are providing aircraft on dry, damp and wet lease agreements - that is without crew, with just flight crew and with full flight and cabin crew. Our resource and flexibility has suddenly made us an extremely attractive source.

"We had been running these sorts of arrangements in parallel with our charter and scheduled services for some time, and we have developed a proven and no-nonsense product that has appealed to operators the world over."

UK-based Astraeus commenced operations in 2002, employs more then 200 people and operates a fleet of Boeing 737 and 757 aircraft. Astraeus is part of Iceland-based Northern Travel Holdings (NTH) along with sister operators Sterling and Iceland Express.

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