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Sobelair Pulls Out Of JNB.  
User currently offlineFlying Belgian From Belgium, joined Jun 2001, 2425 posts, RR: 9
Posted (12 years 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2711 times:
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Sobelair will close its only regular route between Brussels and Johanesburg.

This was decided this morning during Sobelair's board meeting.

The route will close as soon as possible. Sobelair is loosing 1 million € each month on this route. This will have no consequences for SLR's employees as they will be deployed on others charter routes.

Furthermore, SLR is still holding talks with SNBA on a possible partnership. Vastapane announced it was focusing on a better rate of use of the respective fleets.


Life is great at 41.000 feet...
17 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineIFlyMidwExprss From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 160 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (12 years 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 2619 times:

Well, I can't read anything besides the topic on my screen (I don't know if it's my computer or the server or what), but it'd be sad to see Sobelair axe JNB. I was just passing through Jo'burg last night (en route CPT-FRA-ORD-MSN) and got a great view of a Sobelair a/c. It'd be a shame to lose it. Forgive me for being a bit out of the loop, but is this indicative of trouble for Sobelair or was it just an underperforming route?

User currently offlineDonder10 From Canada, joined Oct 2001, 6660 posts, RR: 21
Reply 2, posted (12 years 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 2601 times:

Yields were horrible under SN too.

User currently offlineApuneger From Belgium, joined Sep 2000, 3032 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (12 years 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2586 times:

I heard that friday Mr. Vastapane will talk (once again) with the leasing company. He's seeking some serious discount. I wonder if they'll change their price...


Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
User currently offlineFlying Belgian From Belgium, joined Jun 2001, 2425 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (12 years 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2540 times:
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Well, the problem wasn't really about the yields, but before all the loadfactors that were becoming very poor.
I know the the JNB flight left BRU last monday with 6 C-class & 48 Y-class pax.
So the problem was even more serious than with Sabena.

There is a huge market for the JNB-BRU traffic, but pax prefer to elect airlines such as BA, LH, IB, SA, KLM and even LX. In people's mind SLR remained a Belgian charter carrier. I think this lack of image was deserving a better marketing approach from SLR management.

Now about the 767 leasing deals, Mr Vastapane seeks to reduce the monthly amount of 200.000 $. They lease those two machines at a rate of 680.000 $ (each) for the moment.


Life is great at 41.000 feet...
User currently offlineLumumba From Belgium, joined Mar 2001, 369 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (12 years 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 2408 times:

Hi everybody.
I think the BRU JHB route can be profitable but with in a bigger structure like SNBA.
You always need transit passengers?
Or maybe they can make a stop(BRU FIH JHB).
Like they did in the 80's.

User currently offlineAirbus Lover From Malaysia, joined Apr 2000, 3248 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (12 years 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 2397 times:


I noticed that you have repeatedly mistaken JNB with JHB. Johannesburg is JNB and JHB is Johor (Malaysia).

 Wink/being sarcastic

User currently offlineA330DAT From Belgium, joined Nov 2001, 469 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (12 years 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 2389 times:

That's exactly right Lumumba. Today there is absolutely no feeder traffic for the Sobelair flights to Johannesburg (Jo'burg) and it is an ESSENTIAL part in making this destination successful!

I have never understood the logic why all airlines in Belgium each want to do their own thing SEPARATELY, while at the same time they are killing each other.

SN Brussels Airlines can not fill their European flights because there is not enough long haul feeder traffic and Sobelair can't fill their long haul (Jo'burg) flights because it doesn't have any
European feeder. It was the same problem back in the VG/Delsey Airlines days. You would think, after all this time, they would learn from their mistakes??? Maybe this time, with Sobelair they

Everybody would be a winner if they would only work together. This does not necessarily mean that each company should lose their own identity. It would be perfectly possible to offer (for
example) Sobelair flight numbers, operated by SNBA flights, from several European cities to feed the Jo'burg flights, while having SNBA flight numbers, optd. by Sobelair aircraft.

It would be a win/win situation, allowing load factors on both airlines to improve. It is so important, that it may make a difference whether a certain route is profitable or not.

One of SNBA's 3 A330-300 aircraft (OO-SFO) is in maintenance for the moment (New cockpit door being installed, landing gear and engine replacement, amongst other things...) Not that the timing is intentional but actually this comes at a bad moment because extra capacity could easily be used right now on the Nairobi route (since British Airways stopped flying there).

If the rumor is correct, SNBA is in negotiations to allow Sobelair to take over SNBA's holiday flights to Dakar and Banjul, using their Boeing 767-300's, while freeing the A330-300 aircraft and adding extra capacity to Nairobi. Not a bad move I would say. Now that's what I would call cooperation!

Let's hope for the best for everyone. This mysery has lasted long enough here in this country and as you all know, there is enough competition to worry about outside Belgium.

 Smokin cool

User currently offlineAmerican 767 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 4314 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (12 years 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2357 times:

I don't know if SNBA flies to FIH but if they do maybe they should drop it and let Sobelair take over the route BRU-FIH with continuing service to JNB. That'll work if both companies decide to work together. If they codeshare, then like A330DAT explains Sobelair will have feeder traffic from other points in Europe to BRU and the load factor will drastically improve especially on the BRU-FIH leg. If, in the long run, the load factor goes down on the FIH-JNB route, then maybe Sobelair will consider elimitating JNB.
I agree that an SNBA-Sobelair marriage will work out.

Lumumba, I remember when Sabena used to fly to JNB with a stop in FIH. The aircraft used to be a DC-10. Don't forget that the Belgian Congo was the first territory to which Sabena flew when they started operations in the 1920's.

Ben Soriano
Brussels Belgium

Ben Soriano
User currently offlinePressclub From Belgium, joined Nov 2001, 775 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (12 years 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2322 times:

Dear A 330 DAT,

Your rumour about DKR is not correct



User currently offlineFlying lsd From Belgium, joined Feb 2001, 291 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (12 years 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2287 times:

This rumor is maybe not correct
but the idea isn't bad.

During Sn time SLR 767 flew to Tel-aviv for SN and if I'm not wrong to Dakar.
Why not restart this system and use 330 for others destinations.

User currently offlineA330DAT From Belgium, joined Nov 2001, 469 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (12 years 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2280 times:

I stand corrected Pressclub, thanks.

In that case perhaps it may be a good idea? Just a thought  Smile

American767 - Talking about Kinshasa (FIH), Pressclub, perhaps you can confirm whether or not a cooperation is in the works between SNBA and Hewa Bora Airways? SNBA would take over all flights between FIH (no more Lockheed L-1011), while Hewa Bora would act as a feeder and fly intra Congo/Africa flights? That wouldn't be a bad idea either (If you can't beat them, join them), working together and feeding each other's networks (where have we heard that before). Of course, having a cooperation with such a company may bring up certain safety issues to take into consideration. Is the airline up to the standards of an IATA company? How's their maintenance record, dispatch reliability, etc...?

Of course, this may once again be a rumor but perhaps you could shed some light into that? Where there's smoke there may be a flame Big grin

User currently offlineGaut From Belgium, joined Dec 2001, 344 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (12 years 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2267 times:


SN Brussels Airlines can not fill their European flights because there is not enough long haul feeder traffic and Sobelair can't fill their long haul (Jo'burg) flights because it doesn't have any

SNBA has a European network but they can't fill their long haul neither.


«Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae.»
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (12 years 3 days ago) and read 2220 times:

Nice post (again), A330DAT! Consolidation is indeed the word...

@gaut: the africa flights maybe have a quite low load factor, but are profitable (which means that the pax that fly are high yield pax). Also the cargo is important (that's why the A333 is so important).


User currently offlineSN-MD11 From Luxembourg, joined Dec 1999, 116 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (12 years 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2179 times:

SNBA just wants to get rid of Birdy... which becomes increasingly expensive with unreliable machines. No secrets about that.

This Sobelair file is real opportunity for SNBA. Sobelair is in a very very weak position.
But Sabena's receiver Van Buggenhout looks closely at the file as Sabena Interservice Center is still shareholder (and creditor...!) at SN Air Holding and also one of Sobelair's creditors. He will have his word on it no doubt .

See ya.

User currently offlineLxlgu From South Africa, joined Sep 2000, 1085 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (12 years 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 2157 times:

Tonights flight has 7 C and 22 Y
They could never make it!
As a South African travel agent I have never sold Sobelair as airfares are
far too ecpensive with high add ons to other European destinations
Flights are also not marketed properly here-even though they have brought
in a promotional fare-BA to London still cheaper
Yet Sabena I used to have paxs on every flight from here.Their fares were
good but unfortunately the problem here is the weak rand exchange rate


User currently offlineDonder10 From Canada, joined Oct 2001, 6660 posts, RR: 21
Reply 16, posted (12 years 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 2137 times:

I suspect BA can be cheaper at the back than Sobelair because they get so many passengers in the front cabins on good yields.

Would a SNBA+Sobelair marriage get past the competition authorities?

From what I have heard,the SN JNB flights went out quite fall but the weak rand may have played a role in the lowish yields.Also,the JNB-BRU leg being a daytime one may not have helped.

User currently offlineFly-K From Germany, joined May 2000, 3175 posts, RR: 51
Reply 17, posted (12 years 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2108 times:
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Will problems for Belgian airlines EVER end?

$600,000 (dry) lease rate is very high for these days...
Some of the ex-SN A330/340 have found new lessors for considerably less.


Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been...
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