Air Belgium, a new startup, has chosen Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL) as its home base. Flights to China and other Asian destinations are planned.
The inaugural flights are scheduled for the end of March, and Hong Kong is the primary destination.
The first of four Airbus A340-300s will be delivered – an aircraft type that is surprisingly sought after despite its four engines – and is expected to arrive in mid-February. That will give the time for the new airline to obtain its AOC.
Air Belgium has a startup capital of €20 million ($25 million), which is not vast. It will need to be cost conscious, and quickly establish a cash flow to pay for its fuel and leasing costs, never mind pilots and cabin crews.
Many airlines Plus Ultra, Eurowings, Edelweiss amongst them have persisted with A343’s because of their range. Depreciation has resulted in very low leasing or direct purchase costs, or they’ve been passed from a parent airline down, again with nothing but maintenance operating costs to worry about.
The airline’s first aircraft will be two Airbus A340-300 aircraft with registration numbers OO-ABA & OO-ABB. Both of these aircraft are ex-Finnair. The aircraft will be fitted with business, premium economy and economy classes.
The airline previously existed between 1980 and 2000. The new owners under CEO Nicky Tzerakis re-established the name in 2016.
Above Soon to be OO-ABB awaiting delivery and painting in Air Belgium livery. She’ll be leased from ALS.