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Joined: Sun Aug 15, 1999 7:06 pm

Is The Future Of Sabena So Dark?

Sun Dec 24, 2000 5:21 pm

Hi guys,

Being Belgian I am really concerned by the latests news regarding Sabena. It is now sure that they will anticipate their plans as they will dscontinue the flights to Newark and Johanesburg by mid january. They will also return one of their two MD11's to City Bird.

I do not understand why SN stops flights that were all the time overbooked and instead keeps thinking its main strategy remains in flying to the poorest African countries such as Congo, Burundi, Liberia, Rwanda, Mali or Burkina-Faso... As you remeber one of their brand new A330's was recently shot in Bujumbura. What's the point ?? Having only 2 flights to Asia, none to California, Sabena has a strong European Network but a very poor long-haul network.

What are your opinions ??????
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RE: Is The Future Of Sabena So Dark?

Sun Dec 24, 2000 7:24 pm

Actually, by the end of the winter season BOTH MD11s will be returned.

Furthermore, it doesn't mean that, if a flight is always overbooked, it is also making money. JNB had become for SN a very low yield market.

RE: Is The Future Of Sabena So Dark?

Sun Dec 24, 2000 7:39 pm

There are two main reasons why SN is overbooked on their African services - (1) they are the only European carrier flying to many of the destinations; and (2) they have a habit of accepting reservations at the lowest available fares and then cancelling them - telling the pax that there are seats available at the full fare.

I was CEO of City Connexion Airlines, a regional carrier based in BJM where we provided feed for SN pax to KGL and EBB, and we saw this many times - even with our own staff. I have another friend who frequently flies SN to BJL and the same thing has happened to him as well, so this is most definitely an SN problem!

As the old acronym has it: Such A Bloody Experience, Never Again.
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Joined: Sun Aug 15, 1999 7:06 pm

RE: Is The Future Of Sabena So Dark?

Sun Dec 24, 2000 10:10 pm

I do agree in saying that an overbooked flight doesn't necessary make money... but what about the reputation ??? If we only see Swissair planes in popular and profitable destinations then Sabena's name will soon disapear...

I Think the meaning of Sabena's withdrawal in JNB is deeper:
- The leasing of the MD11 which was too expensive in many terms.
- Sabena became a big competitor to SAA which SAirgroup has a stake in (up to 20% shareholder).

Therefore I think as far as Sabena makes money on something Swissair doesn't, the fate of Sabena is to retire of the route. JNB is the best example... !!!!
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RE: Is The Future Of Sabena So Dark?

Sun Dec 24, 2000 10:16 pm

We have to see as a fact that Swissair will always be first choice before Sabena in the SAirGroup.

RE: Is The Future Of Sabena So Dark?

Mon Dec 25, 2000 12:27 am

There's no doubt at all that SR's service is immeasurably better than that of SN. However, given the SAir Group's penchant for investing in airlines with serious labour and financial problems - Sabena, SAA, AOM, Air Liberte etc to name but a few - which may be joined by MAS and Turkish - then it's hard to see how SAir can expect to survive, either.

Here's my (personal) prophecy for SAir for 2001 - you'll see a complete change of management at the top of the group; the sale and/or closure of many of their subsidiary companies; and the sale/parking of many of their fleet. We're starting the next economic downturn, and any company that goes into it burdened by high overheads and lossmaking activities is not, I fear, going to make it out the other end.
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American 767
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RE: Is The Future Of Sabena So Dark?

Mon Dec 25, 2000 3:29 am

Hi Olivier,
I think that Sabena will gradually dismantle its long haul network and become in the long run an airline operating short to medium haul flights within Europe only, they are already removing Newark and Johannesburg. I think that the loss of money is due to the big investment Sabena has made in buying all those A32X's but they'll recover that by selling their remaining 737's to foreign airlines, oh well...I don't know what they will do with their last 737's. So Sabena will become a domestic European airline with a fleet consisting of A319/320/321's as well as Avro RJ's, the 737's will be gone in 2004.
Sabena retired its last 737-200 recently but they still have 737-300's/400's/500's which are not that old. I was always asking myself why Sabena would retire that soon their 300's, 400's and 500's but now I understand. They are trying to recover from their loss of money and they want to come up with an all Airbus fleet. I recently flew on a Sabena 737-400 from Paris to Brussels, I could see a big difference between the 737 and the A320 which I flew a couple of months earlier on the same route. The 737's, even the 300's, 400's and 500's are getting old, well they are not very old yet but they are not "factory fresh". The A320's are brand new, clean, comfortable to fly on, and they have a moving map display showing the progress of the flight along with some flight info, which the 737 doesn't have.

Ben Soriano
Ben Soriano
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RE: Is The Future Of Sabena So Dark?

Mon Dec 25, 2000 4:11 am

From what I've seen the future of Sabena Belgian World Airlines is quite bleak. They are hardly renowned for their inflight service and no advertising anywhere. The only thing that I've heard about them is that they fly the cheapest route from London - Bordeaux, stopping in Bruxelles.

Oh well, let's hope they do good in this years Eurovision Song Contest. Maybe a man with Sabena stewardesses singing!
Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.

RE: Is The Future Of Sabena So Dark?

Tue Dec 26, 2000 8:40 pm

American 767 - the 737-200s were sold some time ago to European Aviation, based in the UK; and the new generation ones are leased, so no more money from that particular source.

Singapore_Air - I think you've summarised precisely why they pulled off the EWR and JNB routes - they offered the lowest fares into Europe (with most European fares common-rated with BRU) and as such those flights were loss leaders. For most of its history, SN has been a political animal where profits were not necessary - and under SAir ownership it has been generating cashflow for the parent company rather than profits.

I agree - they do have some pretty cabin crew!

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