Sabena was once the flag carrier of Belgium and it had a very long and storied history. Founded on 23 May 1923, its first flight took place on 1 July of the same year from Brussels to London via Ostend. Since the country had African colonies, the new airline began flying there from 12 February 1925, all the way to Leopoldville (now Kinshasa).
Over the years, the airline operated piston engine types such as the Douglas DC-4, followed by the Douglas DC-6 and Douglas DC-7, before switching suppliers and ordering the Boeing 707. For the widebody era, they went with both the Boeing 747 and the Douglas DC-10, eventually operating a fleet of mainly Airbus aircraft.
Following on from the last video about the original Boeing 747, this time we head to Europe for a look at Sabena. This video runs for under five minutes, so it’s quick and straight to the point.
What is interesting is that the airline was chronically loss making and then they permitted Swissair to run it. In the end, both Swissair and Sabena both collapsed due to numerous internal and external factors.
The end for Sabena came on 7 November 2001, ending the storied history of the airline. One thing I remember about the airline is that they had a lounge on their Boeing 747 upper decks, all the way through to the 1990s! Most other airlines had switched these to passenger seats long beforehand, so maybe that is just one example of their inefficiency.
Today, Brussels Airlines is their successor flying to both European and overseas destinations. However, they are wholly owned by the Lufthansa Group, as are several airlines in Europe.
Did you ever fly Sabena? What were they like as an airline from a passenger perspective? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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Featured image by Udo K. Haafke on Airliners.net via Wikimedia Commons.