Delta Air Transport

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Delta Air Transport
Delta Air Transport logo.jpg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Commenced operations1967
Ceased operations2002
(re-organized as SN Brussels Airlines)
HubsAntwerp International Airport
Focus citiesBrussels Airport
Parent companyCompagnie Maritime Belge (from 1973)
Sabena (from 1996)
HeadquartersAntwerp, Belgium (1967–1996)
Brussels (1996–2002)

Delta Air Transport (abbreviated DAT) was an airline headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium, operating scheduled and chartered flights, mostly on short-haul routes. It served a multitude of regional European destinations on behalf of Sabena during the 1990s and early 2000s.


Delta Air Transport was founded in 1966, by Frans Van den Bergh, as a provider for air taxi and charter flight services with an initial fleet of three Cessna aircraft (one each of the types Skymaster, 210 and 206). DAT's first scheduled flight from Antwerp to Amsterdam on behalf of KLM took place on 19 September 1967; for that purpose two Beechcraft Queen Air feederliners had been acquired (some sources erroneously mention three of the type). [1] [2]

Delta Air Transport Douglas DC-3 arrives at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport in June 1972 on a scheduled service from Antwerp Airport.

Operations grew when the larger Douglas DC-3 and DC-6 joined the fleet over the following years, allowing DAT to operate charter flights on behalf of KLM (which owned a 33.3 percent stake in DAT), Sabena, Crossair and BIAS. In 1973, the majority of the airline's stake was bought by Compagnie Maritime Belge.[3] During 1974, a Boeing 720 was leased, allowing DAT to offer worldwide charter flights under the Delta International branding,[4] which soon turned out to be unsuccessful, though.[5]

In 1986, Sabena acquired a 49 percent stake in DAT, and an increasing number of flights were operated on behalf of the Belgian national airline henceforth[6] (also adopting the airline codes of Sabena), using a fleet of British Aerospace 146 aircraft, in favor of which other airliners were gradually phased out. DAT became a member of the European Regional Airlines Association in 1993.[7] In 1996, Sabena bought the remaining KLM stake, thus DAT became a wholly owned Sabena subsidiary, moved its headquarters from Antwerp to Brussels[8] and was re-branded as DAT Belgian Regional Airline, offering low-cost flights. Gradually, the livery of Sabena was applied to all DAT aircraft.

On 1 November 2001, Sabena collapsed due to financial difficulties. DAT could re-launch its operations on 10 November with a flight to Geneva,[9] having received all of Sabena's slots at Brussels Airport and thus being able to maintain the successful European network.[10] Freddy Van Gaever, its former CEO, planned to merge DAT with Virgin Express and add flights to the United States using former Sabena aircraft, which was why the new DAT Plus branding was adopted.[11][12] Actually, DAT came under the umbrella of SN Airholding (the liquidator of Sabena) in 2002, and was re-organized under a new AOC as SN Brussels Airlines, which later became Brussels Airlines, today's flag carrier of the country.[5]


In its early years, Delta Air Transport offered up to 4 daily scheduled flights between its then base at Antwerp Airport and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol on behalf of KLM (the contract lasted until 1997, when DAT had become a wholly owned Sabena subsidiary),[13] as well as a limited number of routes to the neighboring countries. During the 1990s and early 2000s, DAT was able to grow an extensive short-haul network, as more and more flights were operated on behalf of demising Sabena, eventually becoming the 10th largest regional airline of the continent, transporting more than 1.7 million passengers per year.[14] During its height, the airline had nearly 800 employees,[15] and served the following cities on a scheduled basis from its hub at Brussels Airport:[16][17][18][19]


A DAT Fokker F28 Fellowship at Stuttgart Airport in 1991.
An Avro RJ100 in the latest livery of Delta Air Transport at Berlin Tempelhof Airport in 2001.

Over the years, Delta Air Transport operated the following aircraft types:[5][20]

Aircraft Introduced Retired
Aérospatiale N 262 1976
Beechcraft Queen Air 1967
Boeing 720 1974 1975
British Aerospace 146
(various versions)
1989[21] 2002
Cessna 206 1966
Cessna 210 1966
Cessna Skymaster 1966
Convair CV-440 1972 1977[22]
Dash 8-300 2001 2002
Douglas DC-3 1968 1972
Douglas DC-4
Douglas DC-6 1978
Douglas DC-8 1973[4]
Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia 1988[23] 1997
Fairchild Hiller FH-227 1977[22]
Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner
Fokker F28 Fellowship 1997

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 4 October 1974 at 20:01 local time, the flight engineer of a DAT Douglas DC-6 (registered OO-VGB) decided to retract the nose gear during take-off run at London Southend Airport even though the aircraft had not yet lifted off, which happened due to a communication error with the pilots. The airplane slid along the runway, during which it was damaged beyond repair. 99 passengers had been on board the flight to Antwerp, one of which was severely injured (another four received minor injuries from evacuating the aircraft). The six crew members remained uninjured.[24][25]
  • On 2 June 1990 at 19:11 local time, a DAT Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia (registered OO-DTA) without any passengers collided with a Piper Aerostar during a low-pass manoeuvre at Antwerp International Airport, resulting in the crash of the Piper and the death of the four people on board. The two aircraft had been performing a close formation flight for aerial photographs of the DAT Embraer for advertising purposes.[26]


  1. ^ " 1968 issue of Flight International" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  2. ^ "1966 Delta Air Transport" (in Dutch).
  3. ^ "World Airlines Directory, Flight International, 1974". Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  4. ^ a b "World Airline Directory, Flight International, July 1973". Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  5. ^ a b c "Information about DAT at SkyStef's Aviation Page". Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  6. ^ "Sabena sizes down, Flight International, March 1986". 1986-03-25. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  7. ^ "European regionals log healthy growth", Flight International, October 1993". 1993-10-12. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  8. ^ "Sabena boss seeks more work for less, Flight International, October 1995". 1995-10-24. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  9. ^ "DAT Plus gets airborne as Virgin Express signs interim co-operation agreement, Flight International, November 2001". 2001-11-26. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  10. ^ "Delsey folds its wings, Flight International, November 2002". 2002-11-18. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  11. ^ "3748.html?search=Delta Air Transport "Ex-DAT Boss to Plug Belgian Gap", Flight International, Nov/Dec 2001 issue". 2010-06-14. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  12. ^ "0071.html?search=Delta Air Transport "Virgin Express Begins Merher Talks", Flight International, Jan 2002 issue". 2010-06-14. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  13. ^ "DAT Disposal, Flight International, February 1997". 1997-02-25. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  14. ^ "The World's Top Regional Airlines by Passenger Numbers, Flight International, May 1999". 1999-05-11. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  15. ^ "DAT's entry in the World Airlines Directory, Flight International, March/April 2000". flightglobal. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  16. ^ "World Airlines Directory, Flight International, March/April 1995". Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  17. ^ "World Airlines Directory, Flight International, March/April 1997". Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  18. ^ "World Airline Directory, Flight International, March 1998". Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  19. ^ "World Airlines Directory, Flight International, March/April 2002". Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  20. ^ "Selected DAT fleet listing (1990 onwards) at". Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  21. ^ "Flight International, Dec 1989/Jan 1990 issue, "News In Brief" section, page 10". 1989-12-20. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  22. ^ a b "Delta Air Transport re-equips, Flight International, April 1977". 1977-04-30. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  23. ^ "Flight International, August 1987. "Marketplace" section on page 6". Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  24. ^ "DAT 1974 accident at the Aviation Safety Network". 1974-10-04. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  25. ^ "Official report of the 1974 DAT accident at Southend Airport" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  26. ^ "DAT 1990 incident at the Aviation Safety Network". 1990-06-02. Retrieved 2013-09-23.

Further reading[edit]

  • Aeronews of Belgium. Antwerpen-Deurne, Belgium: Aviation Society of Antwerp. 2010. pp. 15, 16. ISSN 0772-6198.