Sabena Aerospace invests at Brussels South Charleroi Airport and becomes privileged partner of the Walloon airport

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  • Sabena Aerospace and Brussels South Charleroi Airport are becoming privileged partners

  • Thanks to this new Belgian cooperation both companies want to reinforce one another, enhance the attractiveness of the site and consolidate the Walloon know-how in the aerospace industry

Today, the CEO of Sabena Aerospace – Stéphane Burton – and the CEO of Brussels South Charleroi Airport – Jean-Jacques Cloquet – announced their partnership and the resulting plans for the future.

Sabena Aerospace recently opened a new maintenance station in Brussels South Charleroi Airport in order to strengthen the service offer for airlines on the site. Sabena Aerospace has invested one million euros in the project. The new station currently employs 14 technicians for the maintenance of wide-body aircraft.

The team will expand further in the coming months in order to offer maintenance services for all aircraft types. In the longer term, both sides intend to fully exploit their mutual strengths and develop new activities.

Sabena Aerospace has also set up a new subsidiary in Gosselies, Sabena Aerospace Technologies, with the intention of participating in various Research & Development initiatives.

Within 5 years, Sabena Aerospace has the ambition to expand its teams on the site of Brussels South Charleroi Airport and to employ 50 to 70 extra employees. Walloon Minister of Airports, Jean-Luc Crucke was also present at today’s press conference.

From left to right: Jean-Jacques Cloquet, CEO Brussels South Charleroi Airport; Jean-Luc Crucke, Walloon Minister in charge of Airport Policy; Stéphane Burton, CEO Sabena Aerospace

The recent opening of a completely new Sabena Aerospace maintenance station at Brussels South Charleroi Airport marks the start of a new long-term cooperation between the two companies. The station currently employs 14 technicians and specializes in the maintenance of wide-body Airbus A340 aircraft, the first models of which are operated by the new company Air Belgium.

Sabena Aerospace’s investment in the maintenance station amounts to 1 million euros for new facilities, industrial equipment and personnel training.

Next year, Sabena Aerospace plans to recruit new profiles. The aim is to have 20 people permanently employed in the station by 2019 and to be able to offer maintenance services for all types of aircraft.

At present, Sabena Aerospace is maintaining the aircraft of the airline Air Belgium, which recently carried out the first long-haul flights in the history of Brussels South Charleroi Airport (Hong Kong). There are currently three aircraft in service and a fourth one will be added in September.

In addition to maintenance activities and operational support (MRO), Sabena Aerospace also wants to develop new activities in the region and strengthen partnerships with various actors around Charleroi Airport, such as:

  • The partnership in aeronautical training with the WAN, which offers theoretical training, while Sabena Aerospace can offer practical On-Job training (training is now also available at Charleroi Airport, in addition to Brussels Airport);
  • The collaboration with SONACA and STEMME, which concerns a Temploux development project;
  • A cooperation project with various actors in the region in the field of aircraft scrapping and recycling.

In general, Sabena Aerospace intends to participate in all other aviation cooperation projects that will be developed in the framework of the Aviation Cluster currently being developed at Charleroi Airport.

In this context, Sabena has set up a new subsidiary in Gosselies called ‘Sabena Aerospace
Technologies’, with the intention of participating in various Research & Development initiatives. It is the ambition of Sabena Aerospace to employ about 50 to 70 people in the next 5 years at Charleroi, spread over its various activities in the aviation sector.

Stéphane Burton, CEO of Sabena Aerospace: “The investments in Charleroi airport are fully in line with our company’s long-term strategy. Our goal is to be active in all major airports in Belgium. We were already present in Brussels, Liège and Antwerp, so Charleroi was a logical next step. The fact that we can be the maintenance solution for the first long-haul flights at this airport is only the beginning of a beautiful and long story. We have many projects in the pipeline here, in close cooperation with Charleroi Airport and the aviation players in the region, in order to develop new activities together in this sector that is central to our business plan”.

Jean-Jacques Cloquet, CEO of Brussels South Charleroi Airport: “This cooperation is definitely a beautiful Belgian story and puts Charleroi Airport on the map as a hub for long-haul flights. We are very pleased with the presence of Sabena Aerospace, which will undoubtedly convince many other airlines to choose Brussels South Charleroi Airport, not only for long but also short and medium flights.

Moreover, this cooperation creates jobs and is further proof of the quality of aviation expertise in Wallonia”.

Charleroi, 11 July 2018

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