Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Serge Van Heertum, Jef Pets, Guillaume Waelkens, Jan de Clercq, Pierre Taquet
Translation: Marc Arys  ęsbap 2021
June was undoubtedly a busy month for Brussels airport and the adjoining Melsbroek military base.
In addition to passenger and cargo traffic, military traffic was intense due to the visit of the new American President Joe Biden and the mythical Air Force One.
With just over 400 photos presented, we thought it appropriate to separate things into two pages, one focusing on commercial or business aviation and the other marking military or government traffic. In spite of this separation, some aircraft in the civil domain had been "charted" by the Belgian defence...
Let's start with the civilian part with a slight increase in passenger traffic since the changes announced by the government on 9 June. Indeed, the bridles are released, as if by chance on the eve of the summer holidays, the figures are good, Belgium is tending towards the green etc... I'm really curious to see the announcements of September, announced disaster???
On the cargo side, where some companies use passenger aircraft to transport goods and thus try to reduce losses, let's note the arrival of Dreamliners from the Royal Air Maroc company or the more exotic Kenya Airways. In terms of pure cargo, we note the arrival on several occasions of the Bermuda-registered Longtail company. The ballet of cargo planes was of course ensured by companies that have now become regulars such as ABX Air, Aerotranscargo or Amerijet. June was also the month when the 4th and last Air Belgium A330F (OO-SEA) returned from Dublin after being painted and still needing some finishing touches at Brussels Airport.
Commercial aviation has its icons like the Brussels Airlines OO-SNA in the colours of the "Red Devils" (I'm talking about the footballers here...) who preferred to "charter" a luxury business jet from the Baltic States rather than use the banal A320 in red, as a result of which the logo (red Trident on a yellow background) was changed for that of the fan club... In addition the "fans" travelled with a Fokker 100 Carpatian Airlines... we're going way down!
Another icon of Brussels Airlines, the OO-SNC plane with the beautiful paintings of the Belgian painter Magritte, has been replaced by a banal white paint scheme with "Star Alliance" markings... another disappointing disappearance.
But let's leave the air buses behind and move on to the armed forces.
The 15th Wing had its share of missions of all kinds, including a royal flight taking King Philippe I and Prince Gabriel on a troop and equipment drop mission. The 15th Wing was also visited for 3 full days by a C-130 from our Dutch neighbours of the KLU who flew several airdrops per day. The reason for this is not known and it was quite an unusual move.
But the highlight of June was undoubtedly the US presidential visit from 13 June to 15 June. In the days leading up to and following this visit, a festival of C-17A Globemaster III's was held in the vicinity of the European capital's airport. Festival yes and not only with C-17A (majority it is true...) but also with C-32A, C-40B, E-4B or even C-130J. In short, a delight for US military transport enthusiasts. The visit of Joe Biden also brought a considerable number of government flights and the Turkish delegation was not left out with the deployment of an A400M, an A319CJ and of course the A330 (Air Force Erdogan One...). The morning of June 14 was a continuous ballet allowing, among other things, to immortalize the A321 airbus operated by Titan Airways but bearing the marks of the United Kingdom and displaying a military flight number. This rarity is, for the record, christened by aviation enthusiasts "Boris One". There was also another rarity in Brussels, the C-150 Polaris from far away Canada.
Let's also note the discreet presence of two French Air Force Twin Otters with a plain white paint job and intended for the deployment of Special Forces. Wouldn't Macron's gang trust the Belgian Defence?
After this 'Grand Circus' as Pierre Clostermann would have said, things calmed down by necessity, but Brussels was still the scene of highly interesting visits such as the visit of the Algerian Air Force, the government aircraft of the State of Kuwait or an Iraqi government aircraft.
As you will see from the pictures, June was a busy month for the image and aircraft hunters.
In conclusion, the SBAP team wishes you a good holiday already, be careful and we are not a team of clairvoyants, but we see September as a return to the clampdown due to "Summer Government Laxity".
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