Trans European Airways

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Trans European Airways (shortened TEA) is a now defunct airline that had its head office in Building 117 on the grounds of Melsbroek Airport in Zaventem, Belgium.[1]

Trans European Airways
Airbus A300B OO-TEF TEA BRU 11.09.77 edited-3.jpg
TEA Airbus A300 in service at Brussels Airport in 1977


TEA (ICAO Code: TEA; IATA Code: HE; Call Sign: Belgair) was founded by Georges Gutelman in 1971 who had previously operated a company known as TIFA. The airline initially acquired a fleet of Boeing 707 and Boeing 720 aircraft from sources such as TWA and Eastern Airlines.

In the early 1970s they became the first airline to order an Airbus and subsequently operated the only Airbus A300B1 variant to be used in public service - distinguished by its shorter fuselage and lack of slats - until its retirement in November 1990. The aircraft, registered OO-TEF, photo above, was named Aline after Gutelman's wife.

The airline expanded, operating a second Airbus A300 for a while and started to acquire Boeing 737-200 aircraft. It later acquired Belgian tour operator SunSnacks which it had helped to form in 1976 and create a subsidiary, TEAMCO (Trans European Airways Maintenance Company) to handle maintenance of both its own aircraft and also offer these services to other operators, both civil and military.

The company was involved in the Operation Moses in 1984-1985.

The airline started to expand rapidly during the late 1980s, forming subsidiaries in the United Kingdom (TEA-UK), France (TEA-FRANCE), Italy (TEA-ITALY) and Switzerland (TEA-BASEL) but global economic downturn in the early nineties, partly as a result of the Gulf War caused it to go out of business on September 27, 1991.[2] Its failure gave rise to European Airlines and Eurobelgian Airlines. The management of the UK subsidiary, who had previously managed Orion Airways went on to form Excalibur Airways. TEA Switzerland continued successfully until being purchased by easyJet in 1997. Georges Gutelman later went on to found CityBird which also failed in the aviation slump following 9/11.

Historical Fleet Information[edit]

A former TEA Airbus A300.


  1. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 1 April 1989. 126.
  2. ^ Airlines Remembered by BI Hengi, Publisher Midland Publishing

External links[edit]