Formed in 2018. Low cost carrier (LCC) of long distance passenger operation, to regional and international destinations.
Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL)
February 2018: Startup Air Belgium (ABM) has selected Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL) as its home base for flights to China and other Asian destinations. 1st flights are scheduled for the end of March, with Hong Kong as the 1st destination. The 1st of 4 Airbus A340-300s is expected to arrive in mid-February, allowing the new airline to obtain an air operator’s certificate (AOC). (ABM) has a startup capital of €20 million/$25 million, divided among Belgian and European owners.
May 2018: News Item A-1: Brussels-based start-up, Air Belgium (ABM) has successfully undertaken its 1st revenue flights. (ABM), which intends to offer premium long-haul connections from its Charleroi (CRL) base, operated several rotations from Amsterdam and Brussels to Paramaribo, Suriname, South America in late March and early April on behalf of Surinam Airways (SUR). It is expected to launch its own scheduled services to Hong Kong, imminently.
News Item A-2: "Air Belgium Secures Russian Overflight Rights"
by Victoria Moores (email@example.com) ATWOnline, May 18, 2018.
Long-haul start-up Air Belgium (ABM) has been granted Russian overflight permission, cementing its revised June 3 launch date.
In a May 18 statement, (ABM) said it has “taken care of the last arrangements” and will launch with an initial flight between Brussels Charleroi and Hong Kong on June 3.
(ABM) was initially hoping to launch at the end of March, but this was delayed to April 16, and then to April 30. A further delay was recently announced, pushing back the launch to June 3, because (ABM) was missing the required Russian overflight permission and some global distribution systems (GDS) problems were hampering Chinese tourist bookings.
“Given the impact of the delayed launch, Air Belgium (ABM) has been forced to adapt the frequency of its flights to Hong Kong during the launch phase. The company will offer 2x-weekly in June, followed by 3x-weekly from July onward and, finally, 4x-weekly from October onward,” (ABM) said.
(ABM) (CEO) Niky Terzakis said the airline should have its 3rd aircraft ready by the end of June and flights to mainland China are expected to launch in the coming months.
The start-up carrier previously said it hoped to serve 7 destinations (6 in mainland China plus Hong Kong) by fall 2018, supported by a fleet of 4 Airbus A340-300s to be operational by July.
September 2018: Continuing problems with Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent 1000) engines on its fleet of Boeing 787s has forced British Airways (BAB) to contract leased-in help to maintain its schedules.
(BAB) plans to use an Air Belgium (ABM) Airbus A340-300 on its daily London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi service from September 15 to October 4. (BAB) has already used (ABM) the Belgian startup for a small number of flights from London to Cairo earlier this month.
(BAB)’s 787 fleet is undergoing precautionary inspections in light of durability problems in the compressor of the (Trent 1000) Package C engines. These have required additional inspections, which has forced airlines to ground 787s using this model of engine while the checks take place. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure our customers travel as planned, in light of continuing issues with (RRC) (Trent 1000) engines, which are affecting many airlines around the world.”
“In order to fly as many customers as possible on their original dates of travel, we have leased an aircraft from Air Belgium (ABM). We are in touch with customers who are affected to offer them a range of options if they don't wish to continue with their booking.”
Air Belgium (ABM) began flying earlier this year and has a fleet of 4 A340-300s.
In recent months, (BAB) has leased aircraft from fellow Oneworld (ONW) Alliance carrier Qatar Airways (QTA) to help fill its shortfall in aircraft. However, given the 15-month diplomatic stand-off between (QTA) and the (UAE) (as well as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt), Qatari aircraft would not have been able to operate the service to Abu Dhabi, which is the federal capital of the (UAE).