Always being among the smaller European flag carriers and arounded by such mighty neighbors as Air France, KLM and Lufthansa, the Belgian national carrier built up a large network to Africa, especially to its former colonies like Zaire (now Congo). As the Boeing 747 was too large for these routes, Sabena ordered two DC-10-30CF on August 7th of 1970 and took delivery of the first aircraft, OO-SLA, in 1973. Three more aircraft were ordered and the last and fifth DC-10 for Sabena was delivered on August 14th 1980. As Sabenas economy had several up and downs in the past 30 years, DC-10s were leased from other airlines as Air Zaire and Alitalia while aircraft of its own fleet were leased out to JAT and several other carriers, especially to Africa. Even the British Royal Air Force was among the clients for the DC-10! All the aircraft were sold between 1992 and 1994 and the DC-10 - chapter seemed to have ended for Sabena. But at the end of 1994, the airline leased three (not only two as widely known!) ex-Lufthansa DC-10-30 Full Pax for its routes to Chicago awaiting the delivery of the A340s which were leased to Air France. The A340-200/300 replaced the DC-10 on the long-range flights to Africa and USA and finally the last Sabena DC-10 made its farewell flight on April 27th 1997. This brought Sabenas all-time DC-10-fleet to thirteen aircraft. SABENA collapsed in late 2001 as a result of Swissair's financial catastrophe. Operations were resumed under leadership of subsidiary Delta Air Transport with a new name: SN Brussels Airlines.

Right: SABENA DC-10 in original colours - postcard from SABENA, now SN Brussels Airlines (from Taxiways collection)
Following aircraft were operated by or for Sabena:

RegistrationAircraftFleetnr./NameOperated from - toWhere is it now?
OO-SLA47906/ 11518.09.1973 - 15.05.1986,
31.10.1986 - 12.06.1987,
23.10.1989 - 16.11.1989,
27.01.1990 - 11.02.1990 and
19.03.1990 - 02.11.1994
DAS Air Cargo
OO-SLB47907/ 15710.06.1974 - 24.01.1974Avient
OO-SLC47908/ 21527.10.1975 - 28.01.1991 and
15.03.1991 - 27.10.1992
Master Top Linhas Aereas
OO-SLD47835/ 32609.07.1980 - 20.02.1992FedEx
OO-SLE47836/ 33014.08.1980 - 06.1992FedEx
47926/ 17016.12.1994 - 27.04.1997Omni Air International
47927/ 19027.10.1994 - 12.11.1996Omni Air International
D-ADJO47928/ 19214.07.1994 - 20.12.1994World Airways
D-ADMO46965/ 24501.10.1992 - 11.10.1992Gemini Air Cargo
I-DYNC47867/ 17812.04.1982 - 11.06.1982-stored-
I-DYNO47864/ 12116.09.1982 - 11.1982SCRAPPED
N106WA47835/ 27702.01.1989 - 08.06.1989FedEx
9Q-CLI47886/ 9018.10.1977 - 01.12.1977,
01.1978 - 03.1978 and
19.02.1979 - 04.1979

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