Sabena strengthens Montreal Dorval schedule

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Sabena is expanding its Brussels-Montreal Dorval schedule from four to six flights a week from 1 June, a year after re-launching operations on the route following a five-year absence.

The carrier operates Boeing MD-11s on the Brussels-Montreal route, the aircraft configured to seat 48 passengers in business class and 149 in economy class.

The Belgian airline had operated to Montreal from 1957 until 1993, and when it re-started service in 1998 it saw its fortunes on the route improve as a result of its flights being transferred from Mirabel Airport, unpopularly far from the city, to the much more accessible Dorval.

Sabena's re-launch of Dorval service was part of an intercontinental schedule expansion in 1998 that saw the airline beginning flights to Newark, as well as adding flights and capacity on other US routes. Sabena has five other US gateways: Boston, New York JFK, Chicago, Cincinnati and Atlanta.

It carried 8.75 million passengers last year, 27.3% more than in 1997 and almost triple its boardings in 1992. System load factor was 68.1% - up 2.5 points - and Sabena's intercontinental services achieved an even healthier average load factor of 71.4%.

The airline has added air service to the European destinations of Graz in Austria and Jersey this year, as well as ground service from Brussels to the French city of Valenciennes. Last year Sabena added ten European destinations.