Virgin Express

N.V. Virgin Express S.A. was an 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
VEX .svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
FoundedApril 23, 1996
Ceased operationsMarch 25, 2007 (merged with SN Brussels Airlines to form Brussels Airlines)
HubsBrussels Airport
Frequent-flyer programFlight Club
SubsidiariesVirgin Express France
Fleet size10
Parent companySN Airholding
HeadquartersBuilding 116, Brussels Airport, Zaventem, Belgium
Key peopleNeil Burrows (CEO)
Richard Branson (chairman of Virgin Group)


Virgin Express was founded on April 23, 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 March 31, 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]



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

The Virgin Express fleet consisted of the following aircraft (as of August 2006):[6][7]

Virgin Express fleet
Aircraft In
Orders Passengers Notes
Boeing 737-300 5 142
Boeing 737-400 5 164
Total 10

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.

Virgin Express also had formerly operated the following aircraft:[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
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

See alsoEdit


  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
  5. ^ "Destinations | Brussels Airlines". Retrieved 2020-01-30.
  6. ^ Flight International, 3–9 October 2006
  7. ^ a b "Virgin Express Fleet Details and History". Retrieved February 7, 2022.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Virgin Express at Wikimedia Commons