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City Bird

Taken at Brussels on push-back of its maiden flight to Mexico on March 27 1997 and the sole MD11 wearing full City Bird colors.  (Photo: Skystef)


Base: Brussels
Fleet: 7x B737 (OO-CTG, OO-CTV, OO-CTW, OO-CTX, OO-CYI, OO-CYN, OO-CYS, + 1x leased from Virgin Express (OO-VEK),

3x B767 (OO-CTA, OO-CTQ, OO-CTR),

2x A300(F) (OO-CTT, OO-CTU),

3x MD11 (OO-CTB, OO-CTC, OO-CTS), +3x leased from World Airways (N271WA, N273WA, N280WA)

History: formed on August 6 1996 by City Hotels and New European Investment to perform scheduled low cost long haul flights from its Brussels base. Head became Victor Hasson (owner of City Hotels) which sold Eurobelgian Airlines in April 1996 and on its right hand Georges Gutelman former chairman of Trans European Airways. The first MD11 OO-CTB was delivered on December 9 1996 and was wet leased to Star Europe of France between December 15 1996 and March 25 1997. First own revenue flight took off to Mexico City on March 27 1997. During 1998 a contract was signed with SABENA to provide long haul services. Two MD11 were painted in Sabena colors and put into service to New York, Montreal and Sao Paulo. From Spring 1999 on a B767 was wet leased for six months to Lignes Aériennes Congolaises to provide a scheduled link between Kinshasa-Brussels. Another B767 was leased for two months to Condor from April 1999 on. And finally a third B767 was leased for ten months to Luxair from April 1999 on. During the summer of 1999 cargo services were started with two A300-600 including wet leases to Cargolux, Air France and Cargo Air Lines. During 2000 charter activities became the core business and for this reason B737s were added. Scheduled long haul flights were severely reduced: from December 2000 on a B767 was leased for two months to Cameroon Airlines, together with another B767 which was leased for three months to Vietnam Airlines, Sabena ended the contract with City Bird returning these two MD11s to the lessor by March 2001, and the remaining MD11 in City Bird colors left the fleet by May 2001. On December 26 2000 a subsidiary City Bird France was formed which started charter services from May 1 2001 on from its base at Lille. Financial troubles led to concordat on July 11 2001. German tour operator Thomas Cook was interested in buying the company but tragedy of September 11 2001 led to a world-wide aviation crisis which City Bird would not survive and they were declared bankrupt on October 4 2001.


Belgian Airlines