A real piece of Belgian Aviation History

A real piece of Belgian Aviation History

Another pin on our map of Europe and another country off our bucket list – Belgium. We are pleased to be able to present you the Airbus A319-100 with the registration OO-SSM today, which was used by Sabena, SN Brussels Airlines and most recently Brussels Airlines, making it a real piece of Belgian aviation history.

Brussels Airlines Aviationtag Edition A319 OO-SSM

In December 2000, the Airbus A319-100 with the Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN) 1388 was delivered to the then Belgian flag carrier Sabena. Sabena was not only the national airline of Belgium, but also one of the oldest carriers in Europe, founded in 1923.

Incidentally, Sabena stood for “Société Anonyme Belge d’Exploitation de la Navigation Aérienne” and emerged from SNETA (Syndicat national pour l’Etude des Transports Aériens), the state airline founded in 1919.

The first cargo flight with a Sabena de Havilland DH-9 was on May 23, 1923 to Lympne in Great Britain and the first passenger flight was on April 1, 1924 from Rotterdam to Strasbourg with a stopover in Brussels.

In the coming decades, Sabena should develop into one of the most relevant airlines in Europe – especially on the routes to Africa. Incidentally, Sabena was also the first company on the European mainland to offer a jet connection to America with the Boeing 707.

The carrier’s great crisis began in the 1990s and the company became more and more dependent on cooperation. In 1995, Swissair acquired a 49% stake in Sabena – an investment with dramatic effects.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Swissair declared itself insolvent. At the time, however, Swissair owed Sabena more than 80 million dollars, which had a domino effect and also drove Sabena into bankruptcy protection. It was not possible to attract new investors in what was probably the worst aviation crisis of all time and finally liquidation had to be initiated.

From February 2022, flight operations were continued on a greatly reduced scale by the subsidiary Delta Air Transport (DAT) under the name SN Brussels Airlines. Our OO-SSM was also operated by SN Brussels Airlines.

OO-SSM in SN Brussels Airlines Livery
SN Brussels Livery

In 2007, SN Brussels Airlines merged with Virgin Express and changed its name to Brussels Airlines – only the IATA designator SN was still reminiscent of the original Sabena from this point on. From that point on, our Airbus A319-100 was also used by Brussels Airlines.

Brussels Airlines is now a subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa AG and a member of the Star Alliance airline alliance.

In July 2022 the history of the OO-SSM ended in Wales. There we were able to secure some interesting colored pieces for you in order to be able to upcycle our current Aviationtag Edition from them!

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