CONSTELLATION International Airlines plans to acquire quieter, more efficient, aircraft to replace its Boeing 727-200s, which face a possible weekend noise- ban at the carrier's Brussels-Zaventem, Belgium, base.

Constellation chief executive Christian Heinzman says that the airline is evaluating the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737-300/400 to replace its Boeing 727s, which have been sold to FedEx. The new aircraft will probably be acquired on operating lease.

The replacement of the 727s is linked to a Belgian Government's proposal to ban non-Chapter 3 aircraft from operation at Zaventem over weekends (Flight International, 29 May-4 June). A separate court ruling could effectively close Zaventem at night to all traffic, regardless of noise category (Flight International, 17-23 July).

Constellation is also subcontracting some of its seats to other operators, because of a dispute with the Belgian Government over a Boeing 737-300 which it has wet-leased from JAT.

The aircraft, to be based at Palma in Majorca in mid-1996, has been grounded at the Spanish airport for the last three months while the airline awaits permission from the Belgian civil aviation administration to operate it on the Belgian register. The Belgian CAA says that the aircraft does not comply with US Federal Aviation Regulations 145 rules, while Constellation retorts that JAT is an internationally reputed airline, which complies with International Civil Aviation Organisation rules.

Source: Flight International