Air Belgium is to roll over its CFM International CFM56-powered Boeing 737 fleet and replace them with Airbus Industrie A320s by 1999. The move comes as part of the take-over by Airtours of the Belgian charter airline's tour operator parent, Sunair.

The UK tour operator has purchased an 80% shareholding in Sunair, which itself owns 65% of the shares of Air Belgium. Air Belgium's remaining shares are held by Sabena's charter subsidiary Sobelair.

Air Belgium's fleet now includes one 737-300QC (quick change) and one 737-400. Both aircraft are on operating leases, and the 737-300QC is subleased to Icelandair. Current plans call for the fleet to be doubled in size to four aircraft by 1999 as the airline standardises on the A320.

The switch to Airbus results from a desire to standardise with Airtours - its UK division Airtours International and Danish operation Premiair both operate the Airbus narrowbody.

The Belgian charter airline flies to Mediterranean destinations for Sunair and Club Mediterranée.

Source: Flight International