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Declaration of Mr. Fred Chaffart, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sabena SA, after the meeting of the Board of Directors on Tuesday, November 6, 2001

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com Date: 6 November 2001

With regret I have to announce that the Board of Directors of Sabena SA/NV has, as is required by law, been obliged to request the court to end the legal composition (‘Concordat judiciare’) and to file for bancruptcy. This means that the court most probably will soon declare the company bancrupt.

The Board is forced to take this decision due to the increasingly bad results of Sabena, caused by several factors :

- The continued lack of profitability of the company;

- The aggressive expansionist strategy of Swissair, its sudden reversal in 2001, followed by the non-payment of a contractually promised capital increase;

- The legal composition of Swissair;

- The wild strikes of the previous months;

- The crisis in the aviation industry, dramatically increased by the September 11 events in the USA.

- I understand how hard this news is for the Sabena personnel and I share their disappointment. But we should not loose the future out of sight. All possible is and will be done to confront the current dramatic situation.

- Plans are being developed, with Belgian investors and financial institutions, and with Virgin Express, to start a smaller, more adequate airline activity, based on the regional airline DAT. This activity would focus on Europe, with possibly some profitable long haul destinations. Objective is to keep the country, out of Zaventem, linked with the rest of the world and to guarantee employment possibilities for thousands of people;

- There are continued efforts to transfer our subsidiaries to new and more stable owners while maintaining a maximum of employment. Mention can be made of Sobelair, Sabena Technics, Sabena Hotels, Atraxis Belgium and others.

- Together with the Belgian Government employment and assistance plans are foreseen. The trade unions have been invited to start negotiations on the social plan with the Belgian Government this evening, chaired by the social conciliator. Objective is to define support and assistance for all concerned employees;

Starting this evening all European and intercontinental flights of Sabena will be suspended. This will also be the case for at least tomorrow. We therefore appeal Sabena passengers not to come to the airport. We apologize towards our passengers for the inconvenience caused by this decision and try to limit the consequences as soon as possible. We ask our passengers to take up contact with their travel agent. More clarity on possibilities of rebooking and refund is expected in the coming days. Hope is expressed to start short haul operations as soon as possible and that more information on an eventual more extensive

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