The European business aviation community is mourning the death of one of its pioneers following the November 29 passing of Abelag Aviation founder Andre Ganshof van der Meersch. Born in 1927, the Belgian entrepreneur established the FBO in 1964 and remained chairman of its board until his retirement just a few years ago.
In 1971 the company opened what was then one of Europe’s first dedicated business aviation terminals at Brussels National Airport. Ganshof van der Meersch was a pilot himself and was type rated in the Learjets operated by Abelag for charter. In 1972 he brought the first business jet onto the Belgian registry with the acquisition of a Learjet 24D and he subsequently owned a Learjet 35A himself. In 1978 he set a new distance record when he piloted a Cessna 441 Conquest on a 2,557-mile transatlantic delivery flight from Gander, Newfoundland, to Brussels.