Airlines Remembered


Photos © R.Leeuw

Homebase: Brussels, Belgium
Founded: 1923
ICAO callsign: Sabena
Flightnbr prefix: SN / SAB
Operations: passengers
Belgium's national airline Sabena has become the first European flag carrier to go bankrupt. Bankruptcy was filed for and approved on November 07th 2001. It is the first failure of a European flag carrier and also Belgium's biggest corporate failure. The airline has only once made a profit since 1958, and at the oint of bankruptcy, it had debts estimated at around $2bn (?1.4bn). Sabena was Europe's second oldest airline (after KLM), having been set up in 1923. The name SABENA stands for the Societe Anonyme Belge d'Exploitation de la Navigation Aerienne (Belgian Company for the Exploitation of Air Navigation).
A joined-venture with Air France ended a few years ago and the shares were taken over by Swissair in 1995. This was no success either, as Swissair was fighting for survival because its joint ventures in AOM/Air Liberte, LTU and Sabena, all produced losses.
After the bankruptcy, Sabena restarted part of its operation through its subsidairy Delta Air Transport (DAT). A new name is expected to be found, but callsign "Sabena" will be something of the past. Flightnumbers with the prefix SN (SAB) will be a thing of the past too.

OO-SDJ come in to land at Zaventem

Sabena was one of the last national airlines to operate the "noisy" 737-200s; here 737-229C (Advanced) OO-SDJ (msn20915/401) is seen landing at homebase Brussels Int'l Airport Zaventem on May 04th 1999. A switch was made from the Boeing 737s to the Airbus A320 family in order to modernize the fleet.

Sabena operated both A330s and A340s

The fleet consisted out of a number of products from Airbus Industries. For the long haul destinations (of which many were in Africa) A330s and A340s were used. Here A330-223 OO-SFP (msn230) comes in gracefully on final approach into BRU, on July 20th 2000.

Sabena was a good customer of Airbus Industries !
Another Airbus Industries A319-112 OO-SSD (msn1102), is photographed here on July 20th 2000.

Fleetlist SABENA from JP Airline Fleets 2001

OO-SYE Boeing 737-529 25218 / 2111
OO-SYG Boeing 737-529 25249 / 2145
OO-SYH Boeing 737-529 25418 / 2163
OO-SYI Boeing 737-529 25419 / 2165
OO-SYJ Boeing 737-529 26537 / 2296
OO-SYK Boeing 737-529 26538 / 2298
OO-SDV Boeing 737-329 23771 / 1430
OO-SDW Boeing 737-329 23772 / 1432
OO-SDX Boeing 737-329 23773 / 1441
OO-SDY Boeing 737-329 23774 / 1443
OO-SYA Boeing 737-329 24355 / 1709
OO-SYB Boeing 737-329 24356 / 1711
OO-SYC Boeing 737-429 25226 / 2104
OO-SSA Airbus A319-112 1048
OO-SSB Airbus A319-112 1068
OO-SSC Airbus A319-112 1086
OO-SSD Airbus A319-112 1102
OO-SSE Airbus A319-112 1124
OO-SSF Airbus A319-112 1145
OO-SSG Airbus A319-112 1160
OO-SSH Airbus A319-112 1184
OO-SSI Airbus A319-112 1283
OO-SSJ Airbus A319-112 1305
OO-SSK Airbus A319-112 1336
OO-SSL Airbus A319-112 1364
OO-SSM Airbus A319-112 1388
OO-SSN Airbus A319-112 1429
OO-SSO Airbus A319-112 1494
OO-SNE Airbus A320-214 1054
OO-SNF Airbus A320-214 1081
OO-SNG Airbus A320-214 1370
OO-SNH Airbus A320-214 1413
OO-SNI Airbus A320-214 1439
OO-SNJ Airbus A320-214 1450
OO-SUA Airbus A321-211 970
OO-SUB Airbus A321-211 995
OO-SUC Airbus A321-211 1012
OO-SFM Airbus A330-301 030
OO-SFN Airbus A330-301 037
OO-SFO Airbus A330-301 045
OO-SFX Airbus A330-322 096
OO-SFP Airbus A330-323 230
OO-SFQ Airbus A330-323 290
OO-SFR Airbus A330-323 296
OO-SFS Airbus A330-323 300
OO-SFT Airbus A330-323 322
OO-SFU Airbus A330-323 324
OO-SCW Airbus A340-211 014
OO-SCX Airbus A340-211 022
OO-SCY Airbus A340-311 047
OO-SCZ Airbus A340-311 051

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