Presentation of the new A330-300 of the Belgian Defense
Text and Pictures : Serge Van Heertum - S.B.A.P. (other as mentionned)
November 19th, 2009 was a special day for the Belgian Defense and particularly the Air Component who presented the new Airbus A330-300 of the 15th Transport Wing based at Melsbroek airbase. This presentation was done by the Minister of Defense, Mister Pieter de Crem and the representant of the French leasing company AVICO.
To make this day memorable, the VIP's and the press members did a flight with the plane around Belgium and during a high altitude flight, was intercepted by 2 F-16's of Florennes Airbase.
But this new airplane in the Belgian military fleet is not a brand new one and knows already very good the Belgian skies. Efectively this Airbus flown under the colours of the Belgian National Company Sabena between 1999 and 2001.
Before his Belgian civil carreer the plane flown first for Malaysian Airlines. After the bankrupcy of Sabena, the plane was taken over by HiFLY (Portugal).
The CS-TMT have also flown under the colours of Garuda International and Air Luxor
The arrival of this plane under Belgian Military colors is a real new concept. In fact this plane is leased for 2000 flight hours /year.
It was imperative for the Belgian Air Component to have a plane with long haul capabilities to replace the old Airbus A310 fleet. One of the A310 remain in service and the other one (CA02) is grounded due his limits before a "D" check (overhaul).