**Update: 01/02/21 @ 19:30 UTC – It seems as though OO-SFZ has received a stay of retirement for a few days due to poor weather in Belgium.**
Belgium’s national flag carrier and the country’s largest airline, Brussels Airlines, is sending its last remaining Airbus A330-200 to the Netherlands, where it will be dismantled and sold off for spare parts. At lunchtime today, the aircraft, registration OO-SFZ, will depart Brussels Airport (BRU) for Enschede Airport Twente (ENS).
According to Aviation24.be, once on the ground in Holland, the aircraft will be handed over to specialist aircraft dismantling company AELS (Aircraft End-of-Life Solutions), who will carefully take the plane apart. Once in pieces, the parts are labeled, recertified, and returned to the market as spare parts. AELS is the only company that can handle the entire supply chain for aircraft disassembly and dismantling.
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Brussels Airlines has 12 Airbus A330-300s
According to Planespotters.net Brussels Airlines had four Airbus A330-200s in its fleet with OO-SFZ the last remaining -200 version following OO-SFY being sent to Enschede Airport Twente in August 2019.
Before today, OO-SFZ was still active in the Brussels Airlines fleet. However, it had remained parked for several months following the coronavirus outbreak in Europe last spring. Brussels Airlines’ remaining long-haul fleet is now exclusively composed of 12 Airbus A330-300s with an average age of 13.8 years.
About the Airbus A330-200
Derived from the Airbus A300, the Airbus A330-200 is a short version of the Airbus A330-300. The A330-200 is a twin-aisle widebody jet with a range of 7,250 nautical miles ( 13,450 kilometers). Brussels Airlines’ Airbus A330-200s had 272 seats laid out in a three-class configuration.
Business class has 22 flatbed seats, while premium economy offers 32 seats that are slightly wider than the 218 seats in economy class. Brussels Airlines used its A330-200 on routes between Belgium and the United States and between Belgium and long-haul routes in Africa.
Brussels Airlines scraps 900 flights
In other Brussels Airlines related news, the Brussels Times reports that the airline is scrapping 900 flights in February and March. The decision was made because of travel restrictions and quarantines brought about by the current COVID-19 medical emergency.
The airline was already noticing a steep decline in reservations due to the ongoing crisis and was only operating a limited number of flights. Now the airline says that in February and March, it will offer just 7% of flights in February and 12% of flights in March that it offered during the same period in 2019. This equates to 900 flights being lost, with flights to Rome, Vienna, Barcelona, and Göteborg being dropped completely.
“The number of passengers who currently have reservations on these flights does not allow an economic or ecological justification for these flights to continue,” said an airline spokesperson.
In what will come as good news for passengers hoping to fly from the Belgian capital to destinations in Africa, Brussels Airlines says none of its February and March flights will be impacted.
Have you ever flown on a long-haul flight with Brussels Airlines? If so, please tell us what you thought in the comments.