ASL Aviation Group has acquired Australian cargo and ACMI airline Pionair Australia (Sydney Bankstown) and will rebrand it to ASL Airlines Australia. Both entities confirmed the transaction on April 3.

ASL Aviation Holdings CEO Dave Andrew said that moving into the Australian and Southwest Pacific markets was a "logical step" for ASL, adding: "Pionair was a natural fit for us, with the same field of operations and a foundation of safety, reliability, and quality."

The purchase price was not disclosed, but all of the required regulatory approvals have been received and the acquisition took immediate effect.

ASL Aviation already has airline interests in Europe, Asia, and South Africa, its brands including ASL Airlines Ireland, ASL Airlines Belgium, ASL Airlines France, ASL Airlines UK, Thailand's K-Mile Asia, India's Quikjet Airlines, and both Safair and FlySafair in South Africa. The parent company said that the various airlines operate a combined 140 aircraft ranging from ATR72s to B747s.

Pionair is a well-regarded and longstanding Australian operator that provides passenger and cargo charters as well as ACMI services. According to ch-aviation fleets data, its fleet includes one ARJ100, two BAe 146-200s, four BAe 146-200(QC)s, three BAe 146-200(QT)s, three BAe 146-300(QT)s, and one ERJ 190-300.

Pionair's primary base is at Bankstown Airport in Sydney's southwest but it also has smaller bases at Cairns, Brisbane International, Melbourne Tullamarine, and Adelaide International. The airline flies to destinations around Australia as well as Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. ASL Aviation said it intended to provide ASL Airlines Australia with a B737-800(BCF) from its deal with Boeing for forty B737-800BCF conversion slots.

Pionair owner and CEO Steve Ferris called the transaction the "perfect marriage" for Pionair. "We are in the same business segments, we operate for some of the same customers, and we strive to offer the best possible service. Now, as ASL Airlines Australia, we will have the ability to grow and to develop our fleet and services," he said.

According to the ASL statement, Ferris will stay on in a "continued leadership" role at ASL Airlines Australia and there will be no job losses. Rather, ASL Aviation Holdings claimed that workforce numbers at its newest airline should increase in line with ASL’s growth and fleet plans.