I discovered the following interesting article
With SAirGroup making it ever clearer that it wants out of Sabena, people are asking who will fill the shoes of the Belgian flag carrier. At the Aviation Authority, for the moment at least, there is no sign of any surge in demand for flying permits. All that manager André Van Hove received, a few weeks ago, was òa preliminary approach" from the management of Air Belgium.
The charter company bit the dust along with tour operator Sunair, for which Air Belgium operated out-flights. That was on 1 November last year, when British owners Airtours pulled the plug on their loss-making Belgian subsidiary. òAlong with Air Belgium management, we are trying to get new operations under way," says former general manager Johan Vanneste. òBut we will only start up an airline company if there are commercial agreements." This contradicts a report in travel magazine Infotravel, which wrote that Air Belgium was to operate regional flights as a subcontractor for Sabena - possibly in conjunction with Crossair, the SAirGroup's regional subsidiary. Vanneste says that for the moment he is just working on a business plan, which provides for the company to take on secondary destinations on a subcontract basis for bigger airlines. There are similar ideas at Crossair, Luxembourg's Luxair, Poland's LOT and Lufthansa City Line. òI would like to work with Sabena, as I don't think the company's going to disappear. But I'm also talking to the major carriers in neighbouring countries." In all this, Vanneste is of course conscious that the brand name Air Belgium is the property of Sobelair, Sabena's charter subsidiary. The Belgian flag carrier will neither confirm nor deny that talks are going on with Vanneste. òBut the use of the Air Belgium brand name by third parties is not allowed," says Sabena spokesman Wilfried Remans. òUnless there is an agreement with Sabena."
I wonder if Johan Vanneste is in a way "bought" by SAirGroup to make sure that Sabena didn't get any serious competition (seems strange that he suddenly, after 6 months works for the competition).
Moreover check out the following link
The brand Air Belgium to be used in 2002........... It's getting more and more interesting the entire Sabena story (enough work for the inquiry).