Belgium's Delsey Airlines filed for bankruptcy on 5 November after owner Tony Gram failed to secure new finance.

The airline launched operations in May as VG Airlines following the collapse of national carrier Sabena, operating from Brussels to US destinations Boston, Los Angeles and New York, and Yerevan in Armenia, using three ex-Sabena Airbus A330-200s. Load factors remained around 25% - and the airline was believed to be losing €124,000 ($124,300) a day. The aircraft were grounded on 24 October after Sabena Technics refused to provide maintenance due to unpaid bills. Sources say the airline's main problem was lack of a sales organisation in the USA. Talks with an unnamed Asian airline, reported to be interested in buying 65%, failed.

VG Airlines founder, Freddy van Gaever - who shortly after its launch sold the airline to Gram, owner of the Delsey luggage brand - is investigating relaunching the airline. Van Gaever, founder of Belgian regional VLM, wants to follow the example of Belgian airline TEA which went bankrupt in 1991 and was relaunched a week later as Euro Belgian Airlines and became a successful low-cost airline after it was sold to Richard Branson and rebranded Virgin Express.

The Belgian Court of Justice is investigating the sale of slots at London Heathrow airport by SN Brussels Airlines to British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Shortly before Sabena was declared bankrupt last November, the airline transferred all its slots to its regional subsidiary Delta Air Transport (DAT), which subsequently formed the basis for Sabena successor SN Brussels Airlines. SN later sold nine slots at London Heathrow, a deal which has been declared illegal by Sabena's receiver, who says that Sabena did not have the right to "save" the slots from the bankruptcy by transferring them to DAT.

Source: Flight International