N183AQ in Bellview colours
Privately owned Nigerian operator Bellview Airlines is attempting to get back in the air with former Gulf Air B767-3P6, msn 24496 registered A9C-GK. Until recently the aircraft was a long term inmate at Dublin Airport where it had been one of a number of machines covered by SR Technics contract with Gulf Air. It arrived in Shannon on November 3 last for painting with Lufthansa Aircraft Paint. On Monday last the aircraft emerged from the LAPS hangar in the colours of Bellview Airlines. On Friday and yesterday, Saturday Novmber 21 the aircraft performed test flights using the US registration as callsign.
Bellview Airlines is a privately owned Nigerian airline set up in 1992. Its network of dometic and regional routes had previously served only one European destination in London Heathrow. In October of this year the airline ceased operations due to a lack of aircraft.In mid October the airline was suspended by IATA from its ticket clearing house on the basis that Bellview was no longer operational. In a notice on its website, IATA directed that all travel agents should stop selling Bellview tickets and issue refunds. The exact circumstances surrounding the grounding of the airline were unclear with Bellview denying that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had grounded it. Bellview told the media that it was merely restructuring in order to provide a better service to its passengers and that it intended "to bounce back" in November when the six aircraft it had ordered would be delivered. A "News Flash" on the Bellview web site is currently announcing that the Lagos - Heathrow service is back to full strength from December 1 next.
Pictured above, N183AQ is seen on finals to R24 at Shannon on Saturday afternoon following its test flight.