New cooperation with civil aviation sector (particularly TUI fly Belgium) enables dispatch of Belgian military personnel to areas of operations

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© Jozef Vanden Broeck

The Belgian military air transport fleet is currently undergoing a transformation. The new A400M planes are gradually replacing the C-130H fleet. Belgian Defence has entered into a contract with ABELAG Aviation for the rental of two Falcon7X “Long Range Jets”. Since the beginning of this year, a new type of activity can be observed at Melsbroek Military Airport (EBMB/BRUMIL) with the recent departure of the Embraer ERJ 135/145 and Airbus A321.

As of January 1, 2021, the Ministry of Defence can use a wide range of options for the operation of its military passenger and cargo flights. First, it has its own organic aeroplanes flown by Defence aviators: C-130H, A400M and the Falcon 7X. Then, through the intermediary of specialised military bodies, it can call on the transport planes of other military partners on the basis of the “pooling and sharing” of available air resources.

The newcomer in this field is the A330 MRTT (Multi-Role Tanker Transport). With the MRTT, Defence has a multimodal transport aircraft that can be used for higher capacity passenger and cargo flights. In addition, the Ministry of Defence has the ability to plan ad hoc charter flights with civilian airlines. These charters will be necessary to continue to ensure sufficient air support during the transition period of the transport fleet.

In this context, on 18 January, TUI fly Belgium carried out the two first military charter flights to Kaunas, Lithuania (JAF9555) and to Niamey, Niger (JAF9333) by Boeing 737-800. These two flights are part of the rotation of military personnel participating in international peace and security operations. Several armed forces around the world already use civilian airlines as charters for air transport in support of military operations.

25 January 2021

Source: BelDefNews (Jo Vanden Broeck) and Aviation24.be forum

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