City Bird

City Bird SA ( operating under the brand City Bird ) was a Belgian airline which carried out scheduled and charter flights and air freight shipments. Moreover, the company leased its machines to other airlines. The company ceased operations in 2001.


City Bird was founded on 6 August 1996 by the Belgian entrepreneurs Victor Hasson and Georges Gutelman who had previously directed the airline Eurobelgian Airlines. The City Hotels chain, whose CEO Victor Hasson was, had a 58 % stake in City Bird. The company introduced on 13 December 1996 a leased McDonnell Douglas MD -11 in service. The aircraft was initially leased until March 1997 to the French charter airline, Star Europe and used on flights from Paris to the Caribbean. On March 27, 1997 City Bird opened the line operating from Brussels- Zaventem airport on a flight to Mexico City. In addition, as of March 30, 1997 scheduled flights to Orlando and Miami, as well as from 1 July 1997 have been set up to San Francisco and Los Angeles. The airline Sabena acquired in the fall of 1997, a 11.2% stake in the company and signed a cooperation agreement with the Company (see code - sharing). Following the passengers Citybird could use the European route network Sabena for connecting flights. In spring 1998, City Bird took over two McDonnell Douglas MD- 11, which were leased long-term to Sabena. Sabena put these machines from 1 May 1998 to own a coloring on its long- haul flights to New York, Montreal and Sao Paulo.

On 2 April 1998 City Bird was the first of its three Boeing 767 which were used, among other things, on behalf of the tour operator C & N Touristic on charter flights to the Caribbean and next to it temporarily leased to the airlines Condor, Luxair, Vietnam Airlines and Cameroon Airlines. As of April 1999, the company began Boeing 767 for six months in cooperation with the kongonesischen company Ligne Aériennes Congolaises (LAC ) on scheduled flights between Brussels and Kinshasa. The airline Sabena, who served this route parallel, then sold most of their shares in the company and sued the City Bird for breach of contract.

In summer 1999, the uptake of cargo flights with two aircraft of type Airbus A300 took place. The aircraft were used mainly between Brussels and Tel Aviv. City Bird planned in 2000 two more cargo Boeing 747 to operate, but could not realize this. From the end of 1999, the company focused on the implementation of charter flights in the classic holiday destinations in the Mediterranean. In January 2000, the first Boeing 737 were delivered, which also inserts of the smaller airports of Liège and Ostend were possible. Furthermore, the company stationed in April 2001, a Boeing 737-400 on the French airport Lille and put this one under the name City Bird France. An economic operations has not been achieved.

The 2000 financial year closed with losses from City Bird in the amount of 62 million euros. In addition, the Sabena separated in March 2001 by its leased machines of the type MD - 11th Due to the lack of lease revenue, the company's financial situation deteriorated progressively. In July 2001, the Company applied for bankruptcy protection. As a result, all long-haul flights were set and announced the dismissal of 200 employees. The German Thomas Cook AG, planned the construction of the Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium at this time, initially showed interest in a takeover, but decided against it in early October. City Bird presented the flight operations on 4 October 2001 and filed on the same day for bankruptcy.

Used aircraft

  • Airbus A300- 600F
  • Boeing 737-300, 737-400 and 737-800
  • Boeing 767 -300ER
  • McDonnell Douglas MD -11

At the time of cessation of the fleet of City Bird consisted of two Airbus A300 ( cargo planes ) and four Boeing 737-400 and three Boeing 737-800.