Air Belgium as a brand was reborn in 2016, having also been used as a leisure airline in the ’80s and ’90s. With this reincarnation, it is intended to be a full-service carrier, offering long-haul flights out of Brussels Charleroi Airport to Hong Kong – the only European carrier currently offering the prospect of a direct connection between Greater China and Belgium. Yesterday, Air Belgium took its biggest step yet on the road to inaugurating its Brussels-Hong Kong flights. In this article, we analyse Air Belgium’s plans for the future, frequencies, schedule and onboard service.
In February, we recieved more information about Air Belgium’s business model. They aspire to have excellent customer service, with three classes of travel – including Economy, Premium & Business class. Economy Class will be configured in a 2-4-2 configuration, Premium offering a 2-3-2 set up and Business Class will offer lie-flat seats, staggered between 1-2-1 and 2-2-2. Once on board, the airline says its guests will be ‘immersed in a Belgian atmosphere’, with a broad supply of Belgian products. In Economy & Premium Economy, passengers will have the choice between two menus and Business Class travellers will be able to choose from three.
Moving forward, the airline will offer a brand new Business Lounge at Brussels South-Charleroi airport. As of early 2019, customers will be welcomed in a brand new, dedicated premium terminal. Upon arrival, Premium and Business class travellers can drop their bags, complete the security check and continue to the luxury lounge. The airline even aspires to offer a car-plane transit time of just 20 minutes within this premium terminal.
Yesterday, Air Belgium took its biggest step yet on the road to launching flights. At 9am, on the 3rd April, Air Belgium opened its reservation platform. Air Belgium has confirmed that it will inaugurate its new link between Brussels and Hong Kong on the 30th April 2018, becoming the first European airline to link Belgium and the Far East directly. The airline will offer four non-stop services each week, leaving Brussels on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and leaving Hong Kong on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Under the IATA code of ‘KF’, the airline’s flights will be numbered KF851 and 852. The schedule will be as follows:
- KF851 Leaving Brussels (CRL) at 1400, arriving Hong Kong (HKG) the following day at 0730, local time.
- KF852 Leaving Hong Kong (HKG) at 1030, arriving back in Belgium at 1715.
Additionally, Air Belgium has further ambitions to connect Brussels to further destinations in China from this summer. Tickets to Hong Kong can be booked on airbelgium.com, and will become available on Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and other travel agencies – such as Skyscanner – in the coming weeks.
Air Belgium continues to tap into a niche in the Europe-Asia air market and will no doubt revolutionise the experience of flying intercontinental, with a breath of fresh air, with a completely Belgian approach. With big ambitions, the airline will need to establish itself as a new force in the aviation industry quickly. However, with competitive products, three cabin classes and frequent services. the patriotic Belgian carrier is off to a flying start.