The Belgian defence ministry has bought two Airbus A310-200s from Singapore Airlines (SIA) for use as troop transports by the Belgian air force.

The ministry has paid Bfr1.28 billion ($36 million) for the two aircraft. The first will be delivered in September, with the second following in April 1998. The aircraft will replace the ageing Boeing 727-100QC of 21 Sqn, 15 Wing, at Melsbroek. The 727 will be sold.

The two transports have not been acquired through Belgian airline Sabena as originally planned. The carrier has backed out, saying that "-it was not its role to buy aircraft for the military".

The Airbuses have been bought directly by Belgium's military-purchase department, SGA (Service General des Achats). By refusing to act as an agent, Sabena forfeits the commission to which it was entitled on the sale and which the ministry was ready to pay. It is unclear who will maintain the aircraft.

Source: Flight International