Herman De Wulf/BRUSSELS

THE RATIONALISATION of Sabena's long-haul-aircraft types is the priority item on the carrier's fleet-planning agenda, with a decision expected soon on standardising on a single type.

The long-haul decision is seen as a more urgent than the replacement of its older Boeing 737-200s, which is not now expected before 2000 (Flight International, 9-15 October, P12).

Sabena is aiming to reduce maintenance costs by eliminating the mix of types in its fleet, and plans to reduce the three long-haul models (the Airbus A340, Boeing 747 and McDonnell Douglas DC-10) now operated to two by 1998 and one by 2000.

The return of the two leased DC-10-30s (to Lufthansa) is scheduled for 1998, leaving Sabena with three 747 "classics" and five Airbus A340s (including two due back off lease from Air France). The airline's charter subsidiary, Sobelair, operates leased Boeing 767-300ERs.

With the plan to have a single-type long-haul fleet by 2000, a decision as to which type on which to standardise will have to be taken soon, to allow deliveries to be completed in the required timetable.

Source: Flight International