VIRGIN IS to complete its purchase of a 90% stake in EuroBelgian Airlines (EBA) on 30 April, clearing the way for Virgin European Airways to inaugurate low-cost scheduled flights between Brussels and five initial destinations (Flight International, 28 February-5 March, P15).

The revised BFr1.8 billion ($59 million) deal, due to be signed on 22 April, follows an earlier memorandum of understanding, calling for the UK group to buy 80% of EBA's shares for BFr2 billion.

Virgin says that the proposed deal is still in the "due-diligence period", and that unforeseen problems could cause a delay, although " doesn't look like that is going to happen".

The company confirms, that the stand alone European operation, will be run by former Continental Express chief executive, Jonathan Ornstein. The purchase will be financed through private funds provided by Virgin owner Richard Branson.

Meanwhile, Virgin has decided to convert options held by EBA on two Boeing 737-400s into firm orders, both for delivery in January 1997, to add to existing orders for two 737-300s (for delivery in August) and two new-generation -800s.

EBA now operates a fleet of 12 737-300/-400s.

Source: Flight International