Engine Issues Causes Air Belgium to Retire Two A330neo After Only Two Years

Air Belgium, a Belgian airline that operates flights to Africa and Asia, has announced that it will retire its two Airbus A330neo aircraft by the end of this year. The decision comes after the airline faced persistent engine issues and failed to reach an agreement with Airbus, the manufacturer of the aircraft. The A330neo is a new-generation aircraft that boasts lower fuel consumption and carbon emissions, as well as greater comfort and passenger experience. Air Belgium acquired its two A330neo planes in 2021, hoping to modernize its fleet and expand its network. However, the airline soon encountered problems with the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines that powered the aircraft.


One of the A330neo planes, registered as OO-ABF, has been grounded in Brussels since August 2023, when it suffered a hydraulic pump failure and metal debris in the engine during a flight to Johannesburg. The airline has been unable to fix the engine problem and has been in negotiations with Airbus for a solution. However, according to Belgian media, the talks have been unsuccessful and the airline has decided to retire the aircraft. The other A330neo plane, registered as OO-ABG, is currently leased to LOT Polish Airlines and operates without major issues. However, Air Belgium plans to return the aircraft to Airbus by the end of November and replace it with another plane.

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The retirement of the A330neo fleet will have a significant impact on Air Belgium's operations and finances. The airline suspended all scheduled passenger flights in October 2023, citing the lack of profitability and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline also applied for court restructuring and owes refunds to nearly 11,000 passengers. Air Belgium had hoped to receive an investment from Sichuan Airlines Group, the parent company of Sichuan Airlines, a Chinese airline that has a strategic partnership with Air Belgium. However, the deal has been delayed and may not materialize, according to some sources.

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Air Belgium's CEO, Niky Terzakis, expressed his disappointment and frustration with the situation. He said that the A330neo aircraft were the most modern and environmentally friendly planes that operated under the Belgian flag and that the airline's customers enjoyed the superior service and comfort on board. He also said that the airline was working hard to overcome the challenges and resume its flights as soon as possible.

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