NEWS Archive

NEWS 2011/02

June 2011
29/06 - Belgian civil air traffic statistics for the month of April 2011

The monthly statistics on air traffic and airport movements in Belgium over April 2011 published by Belgocontrol show an increase of 17.730 movements or +22.44%. (96.752 movements up from 79.022 compared to the same month one year earlier). Airport statistics give the following figures: Brussels Airport: 19.448 movements (+23.73%), Charleroi-Brussels South: 10.058 movements, Liège-Bierset: 7.613 movements, Oostende: 6.878 movements and Antwerpen-Deurne: 6.459 movements. Canac controlled air traffic between ground levels and flight 245 and above the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, between flight levels 145/165 and 245: 45.996 movements (+26.18%).  Source: Belgocontrol

27/06 - Brussels Airlines welcomes 18.2 pct. more passengers in May 2011

 In May Brussels Airlines saw a passenger growth of 18, 2 percent compared to the same period one year ago. The airline transported in total 79,000 more passengers on board its 50 European and 20 African flights. A total of 515,718 passengers chose for Brussels Airlines in May. The increase was similar on both the European network (+ 18.1 pct.) and the long-haul network (+ 19.1 pct.). Due to this passenger increase also the average seat load factor of the flights went up. The passenger numbers of May confirm the positive growth trend of recent months. Brussels Airlines grew faster than the market in May. Source Brussels Airlines

26/06 - Barco avionics displays installed on first Australian Air Force Airbus A330 MRTT

The Royal Australian Air Force in Canberra, Australia, has taken possession of its first Airbus military multi role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft equipped with avionics displays from Barco N.V. The aircraft, a military transport and aerial refuelling version of the twin-engine Airbus A330-200 passenger jetliner, was delivered officially on 1 June, and is the first of 5 A330 MRTT aircraft for the Australian air force. In total Airbus has already received orders for 28 A330 MRTT aircraft. The A330 MRTT flight avionics have the Barco CHDD-268 cockpit head down touch screen displays and Barco's PU-2000 multi-capability processing units. The CHDD-268 is an advanced, compact 6-by-8-inch avionics display those digital and analogue video inputs. It is a sunlight-readable active matrix liquid crystal display (AMLCD) with LED backlighting, which functions in portrait and landscape mode. Source: Barco

23/06 - Thai Airlines to open direct link between Brussels and Bangkok.

As of November 17th, 2011 Thai Airways will be linking Brussels and Bangkok with three weekly non-stop flights. The connection will be flown with a Boeing 777-200ER providing 292 seats (30 of which in Business class). Tickets for the Bangkok Brussels route can be booked as of July 1st. Thai Airways is a member of the Star Alliance which includes also Brussels Airlines. Source: Luchtvaartnieuws

23/06 - Belgium signs maintenance agreement for the Airbus A400M transport aircraft

Belgium, together with Germany, France, Spain, the United Kingdom and Luxembourg, has signed a framework agreement to mutually maintain the fleet of Airbus A400M transport aircraft to be acquired by the countries involved. In the agreement the six countries stipulate that they will mutually maintain all parts and spare equipment for the new transport which is to replace the Lockheed C-130H in the Belgian Air Force. Turkey which is also involved in the project is expected to sign this agreement in the near future. Source:  

21/06 - Alenia Aermacchi selects Barco for advanced trainer jet simulator

Barco has been selected by Alenia Aermacchi, part of the Aeronautics Sector of Finmeccanica led by Alenia Aeronautica, to construct a visual display system for its M-346 trainer jet flight simulator. The simulator, developed in partnership with CAE, will be used on tradeshows and other promotional events to demonstrate the power of the trainer aircraft to potential customers. Source and more info: Barco

20/06 - Sabca to produce elements for the future Dassault Falcon SMS

The Belgian aerospace company Sabca has announced that it is to participate as a partner in Dassault Aviation’s future business aircraft the SMS for which it is to develop and produce the lower aft fuselage.  The contract has been signed at the end of 2010 and already now Sabca engineers are working at Dassault Aviation Saint Cloud plant together with other partners in this programme. Sabca is thus participating in the design, development and production of the next twin engine Falcon which will be available as of 2016.  Source Belga

18/06 - Engine gearbox problem hampers Airbus A400M Le Bourget debut

The Airbus Military A400M military airlifter suffered a gearbox problem in one of its powerful turbo-props days before the world's largest air show at Le Bourget near Paris and will not now be able to carry out its daring display routine in front of aviation enthusiasts. Airbus officials said the future European troop plane would take part in a flypast on Monday to mark the show's opening but then be placed on static display. This could cast doubt over whether the aircraft will be available to attend the Koksijde Airshow on 6 & 7 July next. Source: Reuters

14/06 - MoD Pieter De Crem: No Dutch C-130's to be stationed at Melsbroek

Belgian Minister of Defence Pieter De Crem (CD&V) has denied that the Dutch Government has plans to station some of its military transport aircraft at Melsbroek airbase (home of the 15th Transport Wing). (See also Belgian Wings News item of 18/05/11 - "Kon. Luchtmacht transport assets could move to Melsbroek airbase") The Dutch weekly "Binnenlands Bestuur" had insinuated that the Dutch authorities planned to close down Eindhoven military airbase and to station a number of its transport aircraft at Melsbroek.  Source: De Morgen

13/06 - Historian Roland Versele has passed away

It is with great sadness that we have to announce that our long time friend Roland Versele has passed away. Roland who was the expert on Bollekens aircraft and early military aviation in Belgium was a member of the Royal Army Museum - Aeronautical section's "Historical Team" since many years and a very valuable friend, always ready to help. Cdt Versele helped to register and classify the vast "Russian Archives" (Belgian military documents recovered in Moscow) for the Army Museum's central library for many years and was also an expert on Belgian fortifications. Roland's expert comments and optimism will be sorely missed. "Belgian Wings" and the "Historical Team" wishes to express their deepest condolences to the family and relatives of Roland. 

11/06 - TNT Express launches freighter service between India & Liège Airport

Logistic service provider TNT Express has launched a dedicated B767 freighter service between India and Europe. The service will run five times a week between New Delhi and TNT's European air hub at Liège-Bierset airport in Belgium, with a stopover in Dubai on the way back to India. The new service will enable TNT Express customers to enjoy faster transit times for shipments moving between India and Europe.  The new B767 freighter service has a weekly capacity of 210 tonnes. To begin with, the service will begin with a single freighter. Shipments will depart from New Delhi at the end of each working day and arrive at Liège before the start of the next working day. The return flight allows TNT to collect and uplift shipments from Europe on the same day. Source: The Economic Times

09/06 - Starfighter FX-21 arrives at Koksijde airbase to be displayed during airshow..

Lockheed F-104G Starfighter FX-21 has been transported by road to Koksijde airbase to be one of the aircraft that will be present in a historical static display during the Belgian Air Force's 65 Anniversary airshow at Koksijde on 6 & 7 July 2011. For the same reason, Dassault Mirage 5BA BA26 will also to be transported to Koksijde somewhere next week. The Koksijde airshow takes place on July 6th and 7th, 2011. The aircraft was up to recently a monument at the Belgian Defence headquarters at Evere near Brussels wearing the false registration FX-23. Now the Starfighter got its identity back but unfortunately it has received a non representative paint scheme somewhat resembling a scheme that was tested out on four aircraft (FX02, 10, 12, 14) in the late sixties, but finally wasn't used. Picture of the aircraft arriving at Koksijde airbase by Wim Houquet.   

09/06 - Cessna F.152-II OO-AWC overturned in emergency landing at Lommel

Reims/Cessna F.152 registered OO-AWC (cn 1514) of the Aeroclub Keiheuvel made a crash landing around 6 o’clock in the evening near the industrial park Balendijk at Lommel. One of the two occupants suffered light injuries, the other person remained unhurt. The aircraft which departed Charleroi airport with Keiheuvel (Balen) as destination attempted an emergency landing in which the machine overturned. Cause of the accident is still unclear. Source: Het Belang van Limburg. Picture of OO-AWC in better times.

06/06 - Three Belgian Agusta helicopters participate in exercise “Italian Call 2011”

More than 450 persons of ten different nationalities (30 of which Belgians), together with some 32 helicopters participate since the end of May in the most important “rotary wing” exercise ever organised in Europe. The aim of this exercise is to enhance the interoperability between the European armies. Named “Italian Call 2011” the exercise is staged at Viterbe airbase in central Italy with the help of the European Defence Agency (EDA) based at Brussels. The third exercise of this type aims at improving the training of crews in “hot and high” environments and in very dusty conditions as often encountered in operations. The Belgian Agusta crews were able to train landings in sand which result in clouds of dust, one of the principal causes of accidents in Afghanistan. At Viterbe it was also announced that for next year EDA will organise one of its important helicopter exercises in Belgium. In 2012 no les than three exercises will be staged “Sharp Blades” in Sweden, “Hot Blades” in Portugal and “Green Blades” (which will also involve the use of special forces) in Belgium . According to Belgian sources “Green Blades” will take place in September-October of next year at the Leopoldburg training camp with involvement of nearby Kleine Brogel airbase. Exercises of this type are organised in the framework of the “Helicopter Training Program” of the EDA and have up to now resulted in the formation of 90 helicopter crews, most of whom have been deployed to Afghanistan in NATO operations.  Source: Belga

05/06 - Belgian Defence sells 20 HeliOS observation systems from Agusta helicopters

Belgian Defence has put up for sale some twenty HeliOS observation systems which were used on the Army's Agusta A109BA helicopters. As the number of Agusta’s will be reduced from the original 46 helicopters to 20 at the end of 2011 the number of operational observation systems could also be reduced. The Helicopter Observation System (HeliOS) was developed by Saab of Sweden and equipped 18 Agusta's for day-observation. The anti-tank version was equipped with an infra-red observation and targeting system, which enabled the use of the US anti-tank missile TOW (Tube launched, Optically tracked, Wire-Guided). Source: Belga 

01/06 - Brussels Airlines adds non stop flights to Kinshasa and increases frequency to Abidjan

On top of its 5 weekly flights with a short intermediary stop, Brussels Airlines will offer direct and non-stop flights between Brussels and DR Congo every Wednesday and Saturday during the months of July and August. On these days, the full capacity of the Airbus A 330-300 flights will be reserved for the Kinshasa-Brussels route. As stability is back in the West African country, Ivory Coast, Brussels Airlines will add one flight to Abidjan as of the end of June bringing total to three connections a week between Brussels and Abidjan. Starting this summer, Brussels Airlines will start commercializing new intra-African flights. On Mondays and Thursdays a return flight between Banjul (The Gambia) and Freetown (Sierra Leone) will be offered. On Tuesday and Saturday Brussels Airlines will offer a return flight between Banjul and Conakry (Guinee). Source: Brussels Airlines

01/06 - Brussels Airlines starts scheduled flights to Bamako in Mali

Brussels Airlines enters into Mali with the start-up of a scheduled service to Bamako. This vast West-African country will be connected to the Brussels Airlines home base, Brussels Airport, twice a week (on Wednesdays and Sundays) through a direct and non-stop flight.  This new scheduled service will be operated by an Airbus A 330-300 in Business and Economy Class configuration, offering also ample cargo capacity. Source: Brussels Airlines

May 2011
24/05 - Belgian Defence sold its two Airbus A310's for some 700.000 Euros

The Belgian Ministry of Defence has sold its two Airbus A310 airliner/transport aircraft operated by the Melsbroek based 15th Wing up to last year.  The two A310 had accumulated 35.000 flight hours some 19.942 of which in Belgian Air Force service. Aircraft CA-02 was withdraw from use on August 24th, 2009 while CA-01 bowed out of military service on November 18th, last year. (See Belgian Wings Special feature: “Belgian Air Force Airbus A310, the "Final Touchdown"” while details on their military career can be found in the Belgian Wings Military Aircraft Database).  Both aircraft including, spare parts and a spare engine have been sold for the low price of 700.000 Euros to the company MAD Africa which already acquired 23 Alouette II and 8 Agusta helicopters from Belgian Defence in the past. Since then both Airbuses have been sold to the Dutch company Van Vliet. Source Belga

23/05 - BAFA & FlightSafety Int. launch an International Airline Pilot Training Program.

Ben-Air Flight Academy of Belgium (BAFA) has signed an agreement with FlightSafety International, whereby the VFR part of its ab-initio pilot training program will be conducted at the FlightSafety Academy in Vero Beach, Florida. Through this agreement, BAFA is now in a position to add an intense International Airline Pilot Training Program to its portfolio. Under this program, it will take a candidate just 20 months to become an “Airline Ready” ab-initio airline pilot. This course is taught completely in English. Source: BAFA

20/05 - A400M on track for early 2013 delivery, says Airbus Military

Deliveries of the A400M transport are on track to start in the first quarter of 2013, with Airbus Military expecting the type to reach its final operating standard around five years later. Major assemblies for the programme's initial production aircraft, MSN7, will arrive at the company's final assembly site at San Pablo near Seville late this year. It will make its flight debut by the third quarter of next year, before being delivered to the French air force in an initial operating capability standard. MSN7 is the first of 170 A400Ms to have entered production for partner nations Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and the UK. Ten others originally set for acceptance by Germany and the UK will be offered for sale once an export strategy has been finalised for the delayed type. Source: FlightGlobal

20/05 - Korean Air Cargo to create hundreds of new jobs at Brussels Airport

South Korean company Korean Airlines is extending the number of flight to Brussels Airport as of next winter season. The increase of today’s three flights a week to nine a week by next October will generate some three hundred new jobs at Brussels Airport. On annual basis the increased frequency will also add some 30.000 tons of freight handled at the airport. Source:

19/05 - Belgian Air Force night bombings to eliminate Gaddafi regime

Since last Friday Belgian F-16 fighter-jets have also been involved in night-time bombing raids on targets in Libya. In only a week's time ten targets have been destroyed. The Belgian defence minister Pieter De Crem (CD&V) insists that the bombing raids are covered by UN Resolution 1973. Belgian planes have been active above Libya for two months now. /ore information and Source:

18/05 - FlyingGroup building new hangar at Antwerp Airport

Belgian business aviation services group FlyingGroup plans to open a new $3.5 million hangar at its Antwerp airport headquarters. The 56,000-sq-ft, frost-free facility will be able to accommodate almost every type of business jet. It will feature an automatic “carousel,” enabling parked business aircraft to be quickly moved indoors. The hangar is to be ready this summer. FlyingGroup will use it for its 28-strong fleet but will also offer space to other operators. Source: AINonline

18/05 - Kon. Luchtmacht transport assets could move to Melsbroek airbase

The Netherlands intends to close down its military activities at Eindhoven and move its two KDC-10 tankers and four C-130H Hercules transports to Melsbroek airbase in Belgium. This was communicated by the Dutch magazine Binnenlands Bestuur on its Internet site. The cabinet of defence minister Pieter the Crem (CD&V) was not prepared to comment, but the minister is known to support more international military cooperation. The closure of Eindhoven airbase could fit in with a strategic real estate plan of the Dutch minister of defence, Hans Hillen. The land is owned by the Dutch defence, but houses also the largest regional airport of the country. The Dutch Government is said to want to sell the land to the shareholders of the civil airport. The common control over the military transport assets of Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium is managed from the EATC-centre at Eindhoven; however, the aircraft remain at their home bases so that a move not necessarily means that the EATC (European Air Transport Command) will change location. Source: Belga.

18/05 - Brussels Airlines sees 45.8% % passenger growth over April 2011.

Over the month of April, Brussels Airlines has seen a 45.8% growth in passengers. Almost half a million passengers made use of the Brussels Airlines' European and African networks. This spectacular increase compared with last year is due to the fact that air traffic suffered hugely from the temporary closure of the air space because of the volcanic ash cloud last year - but also the continuing growth in passenger numbers positively impacts this result. Source: Brussels Airlines

13/04 - "Solar Impulse" expected at Brussels Airport at 21.00 hrs local time today.

A favourable weather window seems to be opening up for Friday 13 May 2011. Powered only by solar energy, Solar Impulse HB-SIA could make its first international flight to Brussels. Taking off from Payerne airfield (Switzerland), the solar airplane of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will attempt to reach Brussels Airport, landing there at around 21:00 hours local. The prototype, piloted by André Borschberg, will take off from Payerne airfield and climb to an altitude of 3600 meters. The plane will head for France, pass over Luxembourg and land at Brussels Airport (Zaventem). Due to heavy air traffic in the early evening and possible turbulence caused by thermals, Solar Impulse has received permission to take off from Payerne at around 06:00 hours and will land at Brussels Airport sometime after 21:00 hours. So the flight should last approximately 12 hours. The Fight Director and his team will assist the pilot from “Mission Control Center” at Payerne. Source: Aviationnews.

11/04 - Cityjet Fokker 50 OO-VLE possibly written off at Rotterdam

According to a Rotterdam Airport representative, Fokker 50 OO-VLE of Cityjet could be judged irreparable after a strange accident while the aircraft was parked at the airport's tarmac. The main landing gear seems to have retracted while only one engineer was on board.  Fortunately no-one was hurt in this accident. Source: Rijnmond and picture on

11/04 - Brussels Airport honours EVA Air Cargo for 2010 Network Development

Brussels Airport has honoured EVA Air Cargo with its 2010 Network Development Award Cargo Airline. The Airport made the presentation at its annual Aviation Awards Lunch at the Sheraton Brussels Airport on 29 April, 2011.  This event marked the Airport’s fourth consecutive awards program to recognize outstanding cargo and passengers carriers for punctuality and efficiency, environment and safety, and network and route development. EVA Air Cargo was among three nominees in its winning category.  During 2010, EVA introduced a third weekly cargo flight routed from Brussels to Delhi and Taipei.  It also increased capacity to and from Brussels by replacing a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 Freighter carrying up to 80 tons with a Boeing 747-400 Freighter that has a maximum lift of approximately 100 tons or 36 pallets and 12 containers.  The result has been growth in EVA’s freight volume on the Brussels route, fuelled by Asia’s steadily improving economy and growing demand for both import and export goods. Source: Financial

04/05 - Charleroi Airport: more than 500.000 passengers in April 2011

Brussels South Charleroi registered 506,177 passengers in April. This represents an increase of 41% compared to the 358,162 travellers during the same month last year. The large increase is due to the 659 flight cancellations caused by last year’s volcanic eruption in Iceland, affecting nearly 100,000 passengers. Without these cancellations, approximately 455.000 passengers could have travelled in April last year, bringing the growth to 11.3%. This is in line with the strategy of Brussels South Charleroi Airport to focus on manageable rowth. The numerous destinations proposed from Brussels South Charleroi Airport, together with new routes and frequency increase on routes operated by Ryanair, Jetairfly, Wizz Air and Jet4you, are continuously attracting more passengers. The 5 most growing destinations in April compared to the same month last year were Seville, Nador, Tenerife, Budapest, Valencia. Thirteen new routes have already been launched for the summer season: Athens (Jetairfly), Belgrade (Wizz Air), Volos, Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Perugia, Lamezia, Kos, Almeria, Biarritz, Genoa (Ryanair). Source: BSCA

04/05 - The Belgian Air Force presents its display and Airshow programme 2011.

On May 4th, the Belgian Air Component had selected Florennes airbase as the setting for the presentation of its display teams for the 2011 Airshow season. As the Belgian Air Force celebrates the 65th anniversary of its recreation as independent arm (the actual name Belgian Air Force was only adopted on September 15th, 1949) Belgian Defence intends to accentuate this event by organising one of the world largest airshows at Koksijde airbase on 6 and 7 July 2011 and on top of that honour its glorious history by resurrecting the famous Red Devils aerobatic team. Read more in the Belgian Wings special feature "The Belgian Air Force Display Teams 2011".

03/05 - Two persons killed in crash of Piper Tomahawk OO-MSG at Borgworm

A 53 year old experienced pilot-instructor and his student were killed when their light aircraft crashed between Borgworm and Jeuk. They had taken off from Brustem airfield in Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk OO-MSG (cn 38-79A1113) and crashed around 14h30 in a field. According to a witness the engine sounded as if it failed. Source: Het Nieuwsblad  -  Picture of the aircraft on Belgian WIng

02/05 - Jet Airways to return to Brussels with its Boeing 777 as of next September

As of September 16th, 2011 Jet Airways will again fly its B777-300ER to Brussels Airport. The flights on Friday and Sunday to Mumbai and Newark will be operated by the type, which has a First Class section. The A330-200's operated now only have Economy and Business class.  Source: Airline Route

April 2011
28/04 -  Solar Impulse will attempt to fly to Brussels Airport.

 In the framework of its European solar flight campaign, Solar Impulse, under the patronage of the European Commission, has selected Brussels as its first international destination. The airplane will be displayed in the European capital from 23 to 29 May 2011 and will then attempt to fly on to Paris-Le Bourget, where it is eagerly awaited as the « Special Guest » of the 49th International Paris Air Show from 20 to 26 June 2011. In 2008, even before the solar airplane existed, the European Commission had publicly sponsored Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg’s project. Three years later, by accomplishing the first flight through a whole day and night, lasting over 26 hours, without using fuel, Solar Impulse has proven the immense potential of new technologies in terms of energy savings and production of renewable energies. It was therefore quite natural that Brussels Airport was chosen for Solar Impulse’s first destination. Source and more information: Era Solar Net

28/04 - European Air Transport Command takes control over members’ transport assets

The European Air Transport Command (EATC) takes control over the tactical fixed wing air transport assets of the Belgian Air Force based in Melsbroek. The Belgian ToA to the EATC is a further step towards its Initial Operating Capability (IOC) which is foreseen to be reached within the next few days. Based on a formal "Transfer of Authority" (ToA), the multinational EATC is from now on responsible for the planning, tasking and mission controlling of the Belgian Air Force's C-130 fleet and the Airbus 330. At the same time Belgium hands over authority in the area of force generation, giving defined levels of responsibility to the multinational command for training, concepts, employment as well as fleet management. Together with the already transferred air transport fleets from Germany, France and the Netherlands the commander EATC now executes operational control over a large pool of more then 150 aircraft. The diversity of aircraft types offers the flexibility to choose at any time the asset which fits best the requirements of a mission. Hence the EATC reaches an unprecedented level of efficiency and turns the nations' ambition into their benefit. Moreover, with the nationally defined levels of authority over force generation tasks the multinational command will be in a favourite position to improve harmonization and to increase the level of standardization and interoperability between the four participating nations' air transport fleet. Since exercising centralized control the EATC has executed nearly 3500 of air transport missions, 65 of them where Air to Air Refuelling missions. In addition, EATC already coordinated Aero medical Evacuation Missions for more than 400 patients and supported current operations by planning and controlling sustainment flights. Besides, the EATC has also been engaged in the harmonisation of national regulations as well as the improvement of training opportunities.

France transferred authority to EATC for:

32 C160 Transall - 9 C-130 Hercules - 10 CASA235 - 3 A310 Airbus - 2 A340 Airbus

The Netherlands transferred authority to EATC for:

2 C-130 Hercules - 2 KDC10 - 1 G4 Gulfstream on request - 2 F50 Fokker

Germany transferred authority to EATC for:

63 C160 Transall - 5 A310 Airbus MultiRole (MedEvac on request) + 2 A310 Airbus on request - 3 A319 Airbus on request 4 CH601 Challenger on request

 Belgium transferred authority to EATC for:

10 C-130 Hercules - 1 A 330 Airbus - 4 ERJ145 on request - 1 DA900 on request - 2 DA20 on request     Source:

24/04 - Brussels Airlines receives its first Airbus A320's

Airbus A320-214, OO-SNA (cn 1441) and OO-SNB (cn 1493) have arrived at Zaventem to join the fleet of Brussels Airlines. Both airliners were built in 2001 and subsequently delivered as D-ALTC and D-ALTD to the German carrier LTU in April and June 2001 respectively. After LTU merged with Air Berlin, both aircraft were transferred to Air Berlin in November 2007. D-ALTC (OO-SNA) was delivered from Düsseldorf to Brussels on 11 February 2011 and started regular passenger service on 22 April 2011. The second Airbus A320-214 arrived in Brussels on 21 April 2011 in full Brussels Airlines colours, but with its new serial number OO-SNB still covered by D-ALTD. Picture.

22/04 - One person killed in crash landing of hot air balloon at Ettelgem

Because of a rapidly developing hot weather thunderstorm, Kubicec BB37 hot air balloon, OO-BHA (cn 112) had to make an emergency landing at Ettelgem (near Oudenburg) on April 22nd, 2011.  This went terribly wrong when all of the passengers were thrown out of the basket on impact with the ground.  Five occupants got injured; one of them sustaining severe injuries, but the very experienced pilot, Jacky Vermeire was trapped under the basked and drowned. Source: Expatica

21/04 - The "Red Devils" aerobatic team reborn for the 2011 display season.

The Belgian Air Component is to resurrect the famous “Red Devils” aerobatic team on the nimble Siai Marchetti SF260 for the occasion of it 65th anniversary. The team which was already created since two years as “Hardship Red” will have its name changed to “Red Devils” for the 2011 display season. Already some freshly repainted aircraft have been noticed at Koksijde as well as Beauvechain airbases. Previous teams of the Belgian Air Force having worn the name “Red Devils” were equipped with Hawker Hunter F.6 (1957-1963) and Fouga Magister (1965-1977). Source: Belga   -Pictures:  ST-03  -  ST-04 

21/04 - Private aircraft crashes at Zwartberg (EBZW) airfield

The pilot of Beechcraft C24R Sierra 200 OO-EBT (cn MC-745) was making a test flight from Charleroi to Zwartberg when it crashed during an aborted take off at the airfield near Genk. According to some witnesses one wing hit the ground during the restart. Fortunately the pilot suffered only minor injuries. Source: Het Belang van Limburg.

16/04 - Alpha scramble from Kleine Brogel due to A320 which lost contact with Air Traffic Control

At 18h36L on Saturday April 16th, 2011, two F-16AM’s of the Belgian Air Force’s Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) (for the moment operated from Kleine Brogel airbase) was scrambled to intercept a civilian aircraft arriving from the direction of Germany. It concerned an Airbus A320 linking Antalya (Turkey) with Brussels which suffered a COMMLOSS (loss of communication between the aircraft and the Air Traffic Control centres). All aircraft involved landed safely after communications were re-established. Source:

14/04 - Brussels South Charleroi airport welcomes Jetairfly’s 3rd Boeing 737

A new Boeing 737-800 "next generation” belonging to the Belgian airline Jetairfly has arrived at Brussels South Charleroi airport. From this summer season Jetairfly will base 3 aircraft at the airport on a permanent basis. This is necessary to guarantee the increased number of scheduled flights to different destinations. Jetairfly will fly to no fewer than 18 different destinations directly from Charleroi. As well as the recently launched direct line to Athens, the old classics have returned to the array of destinations on offer, such as Tenerife, Gran Canarias, Antalya, Djerba and Rhodes. Brussels South Charleroi Airport is therefore delighted with the arrival of the aircraft: the OO-JAD "Magnificent". Source: BSCA

12/04 - Entirely new aircraft fleet for Thomas Cook Airlines

Thomas Cook Airlines is to replace its existing fleet of six aircraft within a two year time period. As the decision was taken at group level, fleets of the sister companies in Germany, United Kingdom and Scandinavia are also to be replaced. Details on the ongoing negotiations with Airbus Industries have not been revealed but it is said that the replacement of the fleet will result in savings on maintenance, repairs and fuel consumption. Source:

12/04 - Brussels Airlines not to resume flights to Côte d'Ivoire's Abidjan immediately

Although Côte d'Ivoire's capital Abidjan has become relatively calm after former president Laurent Gbangbo has been arrested, Brussels Airlines is not restarting its link to the African country for the moment. The company declared that it is evaluation the situation in Côte d'Ivoire on regular basis, insinuating that it could restart its flights as of next week. Since March 27th, 2011 Brussels Airlines already had reduced its flight to Abidjan from six to 2 a week. Source: Belga. 

11/04 - Brussels Airlines welcomes 11.4% more passengers in March 2011

Brussels Airlines registered 11.4% more passengers over March 2011 if compared to the same period last year.  More than 45,700 additional passengers were carried on the European and African network of Brussels Airlines. The growth in pax numbers experienced already by Brussels Airlines in January and February continued into the month of March. In total, 446,401 passengers chose to fly Brussels Airlines in March, an increase of 11.4% compared to last year. The occupancy on European flights increased by 4.5 %. While the passenger number increased by 20%, the occupancy on African flights decreased due to the crisis in Ivory Coast as well as Easter not falling in March this year. As in January and February, the passenger growth in March can be linked to the pricing policy, the higher number of seats available, and an increase in the number of transfer passengers. Source: Brussels Airlines

08/04 - Charleroi airport blocked by emergency landing of Dutch F-16

A Dutch F-16 jet fighter (J-640) made an emergency landing at Brussels South-Charleroi Airport, halting flights at the charter airline hub. No one was injured, an airport spokeswoman said, but the forced landing at 10.30 a.m. (0830 GMT) scattered debris across the runway. Emergency services were also working to remove the F-16's fuel tank as its contents were toxic. Two outbound flights, both of Ryanair were cancelled and five incoming flights rerouted to Liege  and Brussels Airport. Delays were expected into the afternoon. The Dutch Air Force said that the F-16 jet had been damaged after landing on its belly and that the pilot was unharmed. Source Reuters

07/04 - Airbus A400M contract amendment finalised with customer nations.

EADS and Airbus welcome the conclusion of contract amendment negotiations with OCCAR and the seven A400M launch customer nations. The contract amendment was signed in Seville by Patrick Bellouard, Director of OCCAR – Executive Agency, and Airbus Military CEO Domingo Ureña, in the presence of Spanish Minister of Defence Carme Chacón. National armament directors and other representatives from customer nations also attended the ceremony. The Contract Amendment now implements the changes which were agreed in principle by the Participating Nations with EADS and Airbus Military in the Frame Agreement signed on 5th March 2010. With four aircraft flying, the A400M has achieved over 1,400 test flight hours and close to 450 flights. The fifth aircraft is complete and has started the final control phase prior to a first flight in early Fall. Civil Certification is to be achieved before year end, and first delivery to first operator – the French Air Force – by the turn of the year 2012 / early 2013. Source: Airbus Military

07/04 - Jetairfly takes delivery of new Boeing 737-800

Belgian airline Jetairfly has taken delivery of taken delivery of its 6the brand new Boeing 737 which will be used on its routes to the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands and the Red sea. The total fleet of Jetairfly now counts 15 aircraft and in May the company is expecting yet another 737-800. On the other hand the company is to sell one 737-400 and one 737-500 after the coming summer season. Source: Luchtvaartnieuws

05/04 - Belgian Air Component NH90 helicopter production started

The first NH90 helicopter destined for the Belgian Air Component has been put into production. Following the April 2007 approval by the Belgian Government's confirmation, the NAHEMO (NATO Helicopter Management Organisation), had signed on behalf of Belgium, a contract with NHI to supply Belgium with a total of ten NH90. These ten NH90 include four aircraft in the TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) version, four in the NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) version - and two options. Picture

03/04 - Lufthansa it not taking over Brussels Airlines

Lufthansa, who already owns 45% of Brussels Airlines, will not take over the other 55%. Last week, they were able to become the full owner of Brussels Airlines but they decided not to take this option as it is currently not one of their main priorities. Source: vrtnieuws

03/04 - Brussels Airlines will lease a Dash 8 from Tyrolean

As from the 1st of April, Brussels Airlines use a leased Dash 8 (OE-LGC), owned by Tyrolean, on their European network. It will be mainly used on the route from Brussels to Hannover but it will be also occasionally used on the routes to Prague, Birmingham and Hamburg. Source: Flightlevel


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Last updated 05/07/2011 18:43 

Daniel Brackx -