THE 15 EUROPEAN Union (EU) ministers of transport have ruled that Sabena will remain an EU airline, even if Swissair takes a majority share in Belgium's national airline.

The ministers concluded at a 14 March meeting that the deal would come under an EU law saying that an EU airline should have EU majority ownership "...unless agreed differently by bilateral agreement".

Swissair is not immediately seeking a majority holding, but has shown clear interest in doing so at some point (Flight International, 1-7 February).

If a bilateral agreement is signed between Belgium and Switzerland, Swissair will therefore be able to take a majority share in Sabena. The Belgian national airline would remain an EU airline, retaining all EU rights, although Swissair would not be considered an EU carrier.

Source: Flight International