N.V. Virgin Express S.A. was a Belgian airline created within the Virgin Group. It operated flights mainly to southern Europe from its hub at Brussels Airport. Ticket sales were mainly through the Internet. The airline merged with SN Brussels Airlines to form Brussels Airlines, which started operations on 25 March 2007.[1] Virgin Express' head office was in Building 116 at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, Belgium, near Brussels.[2][3]

Virgin Express
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded27 September 1991 (1991-09-27)
(as EBA - EuroBelgian Airlines)
Commenced operations23 April 1996 (1996-04-23)
(as Virgin Express)
Ceased operations25 March 2007 (2007-03-25)
(merged with SN Brussels Airlines to form Brussels Airlines)
HubsBrussels Airport
Frequent-flyer programFlight Club
SubsidiariesVirgin Express France (1996—1999)
Parent company
HeadquartersBuilding 116, Brussels Airport, Zaventem, Belgium
Key peopleRichard Branson (chairman of Virgin Group)

History Edit

Virgin Express was founded on 23 April 1996, when the Virgin Group (with chairman Richard Branson) bought the Belgian leisure airline EBA - EuroBelgian Airlines, founded by Victor Hasson and Georges Gutelman, and rebranded it Virgin Express.[4] It also took over EBA's fleet of Boeing 737s and operated this type of aircraft from thereon. The airline soon concentrated on low-budget scheduled flights out of its Brussels hub, and became a major competitor for Sabena and later SN Brussels Airlines.

In October 2004, the Virgin Group sold its assets to SN Brussels Airlines, and both airlines were integrated into the parent holding company SN Airholding, chaired by Viscount Étienne Davignon.

On 31 March 2006, SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Express announced their merger into a single company, named Brussels Airlines. The combined airline added long haul destinations and strengthened its position in Africa.[5]

Fleet Edit

A Virgin Express Boeing 737-400 parked at Faro Airport in 1999
A Virgin Express Boeing 737-300 landing at Faro Airport in 2005

During its 11-year existence, Virgin Express had operated the following aircraft:[6][7]

Virgin Express retired fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A320-200 1 1997 1997 Leased from Constellation International Airlines
Boeing 737-200 2 1997 1997 Leased from AirFoyle Passenger Airlines
Boeing 737-300 15 1996 2007
Boeing 737-400 11 1996 2007
Lockheed L-1011 TriStar 1 1998 1998 Leased from Aer Turas
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 1 1998 1998 Used for charter flights for summer

Three Boeing 737-300 (OO-VEX, OO-VEG and OO-VEH) were fitted with winglets (March 2007). The airline operated a maximum of 26 737s at its peak, and was given the first Joint Aviation Authorities air operator's certificate delivered by the Belgian Civil Aviation Authorities. After the merger, all ten of the Virgin Express fleet went to Brussels Airlines. The airline has since phased out its Boeing 737s.

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ Airliner World January 2007
  2. ^ "Contact Us." Virgin Express. 22 January 2005. Retrieved on 26 June 2010. "."
  3. ^ "imaging/IMG_directions_599x556.jpg." Virgin Express. Retrieved on 26 June 2010.
  4. ^ Company profile virgin-express.com
  5. ^ "Destinations | Brussels Airlines". brusselsairlines.com. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
  6. ^ Flight International, 3–9 October 2006
  7. ^ "Virgin Express Fleet Details and History". Planespotters.net. Retrieved February 7, 2022.

External links Edit

  Media related to Virgin Express at Wikimedia Commons