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Sabena In Big Trouble

Tue Aug 29, 2000 7:37 pm

Sabena, the national airline of Belgium, is in big trouble. Last week some very dramatic losses were announced and this weekend all-new boss Müller announced in a German newspaper that if Sabena could not turn things around by the end of the year, he does not see any reason anymore for Sabena to exist.
The losses at Sabena seem to be weird as passanger numbers have been rising more than average the last years, some 11 percent more in the first half of 2000. The losses are said to be caused by the high fuel prices and the costs of the dollar. On the other hand, Sabena needs to be restrucutred totally, said Müller, in order to turn it in a profitable and competitive airline.
Sabena has been working very hard the last years to get a better image. It is introducing an all new Airbus fleet, one of the best bussiness classes in the industry, new corporate image, new uniformes, better food and in flight entertainment. Passengers are very happy with the improvements and the numbers are going up. Sabena now has to keep the costs under control to make sure they have a long future. sndp

RE: Sabena In Big Trouble

Tue Aug 29, 2000 7:45 pm

Blame it on those 'busess.
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RE: Sabena In Big Trouble

Tue Aug 29, 2000 8:27 pm

In a swiss newspaper i read that when Swissair takes over 80%, Swissair will invest another $100 Million to make anything running.
In one to two years Sabena is expected to become pofitable. One thing is for sure Sabena will not cease to exist.

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RE: Sabena In Big Trouble

Tue Aug 29, 2000 8:29 pm

Is Sabena in any part owned by the Belgian government? If yes, wouldn't the Belgian government give it a hand just as the British government did to RR in the 1970's soon after they declared bankruptcy?
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RE: Sabena In Big Trouble

Tue Aug 29, 2000 11:11 pm

"Blame it on those 'busess"

hey kid, keep the debate clean, please !

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Wed Aug 30, 2000 12:01 am


That's really strange, as Sabena has been developping a profitable route structure since the early 1990s the famous plan called 'Phoenix' which cut the workforce from 12,000 to 9,000 and cut the unprofitable routes in favor of the hub-and-spoke concept, under the lead of Pierre Godfroid.

Any article in the press about these troubles?
Any (serious) reason why Sabena meets these troubles?

Best regards,
Alain Mengus
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The Whole Story...

Wed Aug 30, 2000 12:21 am


I appreciate your bringing SN to people's attention - even if it were in a not so positive way, this time around. Still, honesty prevails.

However, when you refer to Mr. Müller's statement (as quoted from the Financial Times) about the company's profitability and his linking the lack of that to the company's future as such, what followed that statement should also be brought to people's attention.
The unions responded with great dismay and clearly said this was not the way the situation was explained to them at an internal meeting, a week earlier. In a reaction, Mr. Müller said no decisions have been made regarding cutting down employment (as implied in the press) or any other ways to save costs.
Furthermore, he explained the quote from the FT was pulled out of its context; what he meant to say is, no company that makes these kinds of losses would survive in today's market. Regardless even of whether it's an airline or not.

I have enough trust in our new CEO to believe he wants Sabena to reach new heights, with all of its current employees. The future will tell in which ways we can get on top of our fincances. Right now, we have to trust our management and unions to reach agreements on measures to be taken to reach that goal.

All of this, just to say our new CEO has not taken his position with the sole purpose of shutting us down. Please also remember the words of Minister Daems, who stated in the news yesterday that the Belgian government has agreed with SAirGroup that Sabena will not disappear.

Best regards,

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RE: Sabena In Big Trouble

Wed Aug 30, 2000 1:36 am

Apparently you work for SN (right?). So, this post is above all for you, bot not only. Here in Switzerland media coverage NEVER mentioned that Sabena will disappear. It is my understanding, that many functions of Swissair and Sabena will be hended over to a common entity called AMP (Airline Management Partnership).

But the brands Sabena and Swissair will not disappear. SairGroup, or better Sabena, has put a lot of efforts in the last couple of years, to bring up a new Sabena Image, including a new fleet, livery, a new business class, and so on.

I think Sabena is well positioned for the future, and only blind people believed, that Sabena was out of trouble only after a few years. This work has to be consolidatet, that's all.

dominguez(dash)online(dot)ch ... Pushing the limits of my equipment
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RE: Sabena In Big Trouble

Wed Aug 30, 2000 2:34 am

I knew this would happen eventiually. There is no way you can make a profit using 200-250 seat four engined airplanes. That A340 is a total waist of money. How can you make a profit on a plane that seats far less then the 777 but has worst efficiency than the 777. I dont understand. They should trade in those stupid 340's for more 330's. The 330 is a fine plane. No damn wonder there is only 20 340-200. Why doesent Swissair have 340, because they arent profitable. Us Air also doesnot have 340 becuase they are no good.

Before you go crazy and piss your panties, calm down and read my post again. I am not bashing Airbus but the A340. The A330 is an exelent aircraft. So is the 320 family exept for the A318.

I dont know what they were on when they decided to go ahead with the A318. Probably some special hand made Euro weed.  
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RE: Sabena In Big Trouble

Wed Aug 30, 2000 3:21 am

Sabena has now codeshare agreements with American. Sabena and Delta recently "divorced" so Cincinnati and Atlanta were dropped from the network in the North American sector. Sabena now being "married" to American, a new flight was opened last month: BRU-DFW with an Airbus A330. DFW is American's mega hub. This was on the news at RTL (it's a Belgian television channel) this evening, they were talking about Sabena's agreements with American as well as the DFW airport in general.
I'm going to Dallas next week, I booked my flight with American thru Chicago but I could have booked on the Sabena flight. I booked with American to get my qualifying miles, which is what I do on every trip to the United States. Seven years ago, American had a direct BRU-DFW flight.

Best regards,

Ben Soriano
Brussels Belgium
Ben Soriano
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RE: Sabena In Big Trouble

Wed Aug 30, 2000 4:21 am

Sabena have always been horrifically unprofitable. The fleet is in much better shape than ever before. Don't know if the A340 is so bad, I'm not sure if the 330 would make Tokyo or Singapore. Is the 340 less profitable than the 777? I think they're virtually identical, plus the 340 offers more freedom with planning routes over the pole due to the lack of ETOPs restrictions and more cargo space.

No airline is this unprofitable just because of one state-of-the-art aircraft - especially one that shares 100% maintenence and aircrew with it's twin-engined sister.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
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RE: Sabena In Big Trouble

Wed Aug 30, 2000 10:17 am

Hey TWAwhateverstupidname,
take your fingers out of your mouth and turn the computer off, is better for you and the forum.
If you have anything to say, go to the toilet.

If the A340 was that bad, LH wouldn't operate ts as succesful as they currently do. In their last environmental report is was said that the A340 is the most fuel efficient type of the fleet. By the way, it has been since they introduced it...
Yes, a real waste of money...
People you should get better informed before you talk.
Hey, is the A318 flying already? It seems I missed something...
The A318 has currently more orders than the B736, though it won't fly that much for the need for such a plane...

Sabena is a good airline and when all the Boeings are gone, the efficency of an all-Airbus fleet will soon affect financial results clearly...

Me & You & a Plane Named Blue...
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RE: Gerardo

Wed Aug 30, 2000 11:48 am


I appreciate your feedback. However, I'm not sure in what way you're trying to correct me.

I live in Belgium - not in Switzerland. Therefore, I can only speak about Belgian media coverage with absolute certainty. That, and the FT article that apparently started it all. (FT being a rather international paper.)
I never said I thought there was some big Swiss hidden agenda to get Sabena out of the picture. Moreover, my post was meant to shed a new light on what was said earlier on in this thread about our CEO allegedly suggesting the demise of our airline.

I believe we're not the only airline that's having growing pains while going through the proces of privatisation.

Best regards,

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RE: Gerardo

Wed Aug 30, 2000 12:06 pm

Hey guys,
is it possible that almost every single topic turns in a fight between Boeing and Airbus supporters?
I think aircraft industry has reached such a high level of technology that neither Boeing nor Airbus make bad planes; they're different but both very good.
What about Sabena?
I think it's very improbable they will disappear at least in the near future, since they have the power of SairGroup behind.
Every airlines in Europe is experiences losses due to the high fuel prices.
Alitalia is one of these: despite having been the airline with the highest growth in traffic last year, they have to cut some routes to Far East and Australia and increasing fares in order to fight the high fuel prices.


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RE: Sabena In Big Trouble

Wed Aug 30, 2000 1:04 pm

It wasn't my purpose to correct you in any way. It was more a "reinforcement" of what you said, just with the swiss background. I have read so in many posts (not in yours), that "Sabena will disappear" or other stuff like this, that I wanted to make that one clear.

To 777LR: inform yourself before garbaging around. The reason, why SR didn't choose the A340 back in late 80's and early 90's, was the earlier availability of the MD11. And they are going to be replaced with A340-600, of which SR ordered 11 aircraft.

I just wonder, if a overpowered 777 really can be more efficient, than the A340. I doubt it.

dominguez(dash)online(dot)ch ... Pushing the limits of my equipment
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RE: Sabena In Big Trouble

Wed Aug 30, 2000 2:10 pm

Thank you all for your comments.
Please know that I wish Sabena all the best and I too think they will make it. But you cannot expect a company to keep loosing money, something has to happen. Again, I am a big Sabena fan, I want to work there later but this may not prevent us from looking objectively to the company and say that there are problems. But again, I have a lot of respect for all the Sabena people and the work they are doing, and wish them all the luck they can get.
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Rising Fuel Prices

Wed Aug 30, 2000 4:48 pm

Hi there

My 2 cents on a related topic to this one:

Sterman wrote:
Every airlines in Europe is experiences losses due to the high fuel prices.
This may be true.

But I heard years ago from an airline-related person, that the US of A does not pay any kind of fuel taxes.

Is that true? Any comments?


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