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Air Belgium

Taken at Brussels in May 1995, this B757 is wearing the old color scheme which is slightly revised in the tail.  (Photo: Skystef)


Base: Brussels
Fleet: 1x B707 (OO-ABA) + 1x B707 leased from C.E.R. (OO-PSI), 8x B737 (OO-ABB, OO-ILF, OO-ILG, OO-ILH, OO-ILJ, OO-ILK, OO-PLH, OO-RVM) + 1x B737 leased from Sobelair (OO-SBT), 1x B757 (OO-ILI), 2x A320 (OO-AEY, OO-AEZ), 2x Falcon 20DC (OO-STE, OO-STF)
History: formed on May 3 1979 as Abelag Airways by Rudolf Van Moerkerke who owned tour operator Sun International, general aviation company Abelag Aviation and Herfurth (owner of handling agent Belgavia which became Aviapartner) to provide IT pax charters mostly to Mediterranean resorts. Operations began the same month with the delivery of their first aircraft, a B707 but as the Belgian government refused to grant the traffic rights, this B707 was instead leased to UTA (of France) who had to ground their DC10's due to an accident of this type grounding worldwide all DC10's for weeks. Later the aircraft was leased to Ontario Airways before coming back at Brussels in January 1980 where it was laid up as meanwhile a B737-200 was delivered making its first commercial flight to Rhodos on January 10. A bit later Abelag Aviation withdrew from the project, changing the name to Air Belgium on May 9 1980. From summer 1983 onwards a cooperation with Sobelair started resulting in a change of aircraft during peak moments and in 1991 Sobelair took even a stake of 35% in Air Belgium. From the mid eighties onwards, some parcel flights were also operated on behalf of DHL initially with Falcon 20's, later upgraded to a B737-300. On October 29 1990 charter activities were extended to Fort Lauderdale followed by flights to Mexico. On November 21 1991 scheduled services were started to Palma, later followed to Alicante, Faro, Funchal, Malaga, Las Palmas and Tenerife. During February 1998 British tour consortium Airtours bought Sun International and this resulted in April 1999 in the buy-out of Air Belgium and also the take-over of the remaining stake of Sobelair which led to the introduction of the Airbus A320. During the summer of 2000 it was announced that all activities would cease on October 31 2000 due to the heavy competition in this market segment. 


Belgian Airlines