The Syndicat national d'Etude des Transports Aériens ("National Union of Study of Aerial Transport"), known by its acronym SNETA, was a Belgian airline which operated from 1919 to 1923 in order to pioneer commercial aviation in Belgium. In 1923 it ceased operations and merged into the newly founded national carrier SABENA.


The company was founded on 31 March 1919 by Georges Nélis with the support of King Albert I. It operated from the airfield at Haren, near Brussels, and flew to London (Hounslow Heath Aerodrome and Croydon Airport), Paris (Paris–Le Bourget Airport) and Amsterdam (Amsterdam Airport Schiphol). Amongst the pilots of SNETA was Ivan Smirnov. Its initial fleet was made up of surplus airplanes from the First World War. The company used a mix of British, French and German planes. The first nine acquired airplanes were:

Later the company also acquired Farman F.60 Goliaths and Fokker D.VIIs.

In 1921, the company started operating in the Belgian Congo through its subsidiary CENAC (Comité d' Etude pour la Navigation Aérienne du Congo and later as Ligne Aérienne du Roi Albert) flying to Matadi, Léopoldville and Stanleyville using the Lévy-Le Pen.

On 27 September 1921, a wooden hangar burned out, destroying 7 of SNETA's 23 airplanes.

By 1 June 1922, enough information was gathered and all experimental flights were suspended. This cleared the way to start up a real Belgian commercial operator, SABENA, which came into being on 23 May 1923 and into which SNETA merged.


Historical fleetEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Vanthemsche, Guy (2000). "The Birth of Commercial Air Transport in Belgium (1919-1923)". Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire. 78 (3): 913–44 – via  

External linksEdit