BEAP is the name of a new airline being formed in Belgium by a group of former Sabena employees who want to relaunch air services between Brussels and West Africa.

The new airline groups together 1,400 former Sabena employees who were not hired by Sabena subsidiary DAT when it survived the Belgian flag carrier's bankruptcy in November 2001. DATwas subsequently renamed SN Brussels Airlines and operates on some profitable former Sabena routes to Africa, using Airbus A330-300s that it acquired through its takeover of the former Birdy Airlines.

However, BEAP says West Africa has been overlooked by SN Brussels and left to Air France and KLM. The new airline now wants to operate as a niche carrier serving West Africa. Headed by former Sabena pilot Yves Leblicq, who is the airline's chief executive, BEAP says it has secured Excel Aviation Group of the Netherlands as an investor.

Other investors include unnamed Nigerian banking interests that would provide additional funding by March 2005. BEAP's first flight is scheduled for 23 December and will have Lom‚, Togo as its destination.


Source: Flight International