Sabena – Such a brand elicits no affection

I know, I know, a horribly contrived headline. But anyway, I’m surprised to learn that the smart managements of SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Express are planning to resurrect the Sabena brand for their joint operation.


In fairness I have little idea how the Sabena name is viewed in Belgium these days, but it wasn’t hugely loved even before the ghastly bankruptcy process that claimed both Swissair and Sabena in 2001.


The acronym Sabena actually stands for Societe Autonyme Belge d’Exploitation de la Navigation Aerienne, but it was the Belgian public that came up with the rather better-known Such a Bad Experience Never Again. And it was an outpouring of nationalism fuelled by anti-Swiss(air) sentiment after the bankruptcy that resulted in a revisionist affection for this perennially unprofitable operation.


If SN Brussels and Virgin Express do manage to make the brand work then it’ll be the subject of marketing studies for years to come. Perhaps the execs in charge will make it onto the list of famous Belgians - which at time of writing is now up to 259!

One Response to Sabena – Such a brand elicits no affection

  1. Bill Junes 25 January, 2009 at 10:45 pm #

    I was for many years in Africa . Where ever i stood , SABENA was oour national Flag . in many many circumstances she was there when we needed ! Sabena crews saved afew few thousands people Belgian and others in several war circumstances by the way . Sabena was “destroyed” du to managhers cupidity ! and by the way … Such a blody experience never again ” was changed several time in ” Sex and Beauty every night again ” .!! and this was LONG before Swiss air , but that was a real joke , both expression were only jokes . Thanks SABENA for what you gave us .

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