Airlines Remembered

VG Airlines (Delsey Airlines)

Photos © R.Leeuw


Ceased : 08Aug2002 (changed its name to Delsey Airlines)
Homebase:Brussels, Belgium
Founded: 2002
ICAO callsign: Raymond
Flightnbr prefix: IV
Operations: passengers


VG Airlines Airbus A330 OO-SFQ is seen here at Amsterdam Int'l Airport on May 24th, 2002.
The Airbus is sitting at the cargo ramp, on standby for a subcharter for Air Holland.

The name VG Airlines stems from the first CEO: (Freddy) Van Gaever. He started in june 1966 as the first CEO of Delta Air Transport (DAT). He became CEO of European Air Transport (EAT) which operated a large cargo fleet of Convair CV580s, Boeing 727s and Airbus A300s.
Van Gaever, who was at that time also the European Consultant for DHL, organised the sale of EAT to DHL. EAT grew quickly and eventually became the largest freight carrier of Europe.
In 1992 he founded and became the first CEO of VLM - Flemish Regional Carrier - which is a regional carrier linking Belgium with various European cities.


A close up of the stylish colourscheme.

VG Airlines was launched after the demise of Sabena and operated scheduled flights from Brussels to the United States (Boston, New York, Los Angeles) and Yerevan,Armenia (in partnership with Armenian Airlines). First flight was on May 23rd 2002 to New York
VG Airlines and Virgin Express went into a commercial partnership, selling seats on each others routes.
When the Dutch chartercompany Air Holland leased VG Airlines during the early summerseason 2002 for various holiday charters,VG was left with unpaid bills as Air Holland was fighting bankruptcy. Instead of cash, VG Airlines accepted a share in Air Holland instead.
VG Airlines changed ownership on Aug.08th 2002 and was renamed Delsey Airlines. Unfortunately the problems were not over: according to owner Tony Gram there were still "millions of dollars" of unpaid bills awaiting payments by Armenian Airlines and Air Holland.
By the end of october the fleet was grounded, except for an occasional charter, with hopes to restructure Delsey Airlines

The fleet in 2002:

Reg.TypeC/nCapacity
OO-SFQAirbus Industrie A330-223290C42Y187
OO-SFRAirbus Industrie A330-223296C42Y187
OO-SFSAirbus Industrie A330-223300C42Y187

The name VG Airlines was changed to Delsey Airlines, in hopes to turn things around. Tony Gram is also the owner of the famous Delsey suitcases (as well as brands like Kipling, Gramyco, Think Media) and it must be said that Delsey has a more international ring compared to VG Airlines. But, then again, the new callsign "Nico" was no an improvement in my opinion.
But Delsey Airlines ceased operations on November 05th, 2002 as efforts to improve matters did not succeed in time. The market of trans-Atlantic flights had a cut-throat competition and fares as well as loadfactors were down on all carriers. But worse for Delsey were the ticketsales, as 6 months after starting VG Airlines the Belgian touroperators still did not sell seats an the Belgian carrier; the American customers could in the end, but only a day before the final demise...


Sources:
Fleet info: JP Airline Fleets 2002/2003
Various websites


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