Aigle Azur’s Reinvention

New aircraft, a new image, new routes & new products on-board

Founded in 1946, Aigle Azur is the second-largest airline company in France. It benefits from a long rich history and celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2016. Every year, Aigle Azur transports almost 2 million passengers aboard its fleet exclusively composed of Airbus aircraft through nearly 300 scheduled weekly flights from its bases in Lyon, Marseille and Paris.

In August 2017, the airline instated Frantz Yvelin as their Chief Executive Officer – marking a change in leadership – and, simultaneously, another new chapter was opened with the arrival of a new shareholder, David Neeleman, from the parent company of Hainan Airlines – HNA.

Earlier this year, at a press conference in Paris, the airline announced its long-term reinvention with a host of developments, including new aircraft, a new image, new products onboard and new routes. Whilst Aigle Azur has long been prominent in its traditional Mediterranean markets, it is now expanding further afield. Last year, the airline launched new services to Beirut and Moscow and the airline will strengthen its position in the intra-Europe market this summer – with a new route between Orly and Milan and expansion of the existing Berlin connection.

Aigle Azur will embark on a new journey, with three new routes this year.

Building on this European expansion, the airline will launch new long-haul services from Orly to Beijing-Capital (beginning June 21st) and Sao Paulo-Campinas (beginning July 5th). Both services will operate on a three-weekly basis – although the latter will increase to five-weekly in September – with Aigle Azur’s new Airbus A330-200s.

France’s second largest carrier currently has twelve aircraft in its fleet (9x A320s and 1x A319) – but this is increasing to 12 with the arrival of two new A330-200s.

The refreshing yet classy identity of Aigle Azur

These new aircraft will operate the new services to Beijing and Sao Paulo and will reinforce current operations from Paris to Bamako, Algiers, Oran and Porto. In addition, these A330s will debut a new onboard product, divided into two classes, Business and Economy.

The new Economy class will feature VOD entertainment systems

The new Business Class will have fully-flat seats, a state-of-the-art on-board VOD-type entertainment system, mood lighting and access to Wi-Fi. Finally, the airline has unveiled a new visual identity, which includes a reimagined livery, which can only be described as refreshingly gorgeous. This is all part of Aigle Azur’s aim to compete with the best business class carriers and to ‘conquer new business opportunities’.

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As a growing carrier, the airline is also keen to form close  partnerships with airlines from around the world. Logically, Aigle Azur will codeshare with Brazilian carrier Azul – whose largest hub is in Sao Paulo-Campinas and will provide endless connections around Brazil for Aigle Azur’s customers – and the Chinese five-star carrier Hainan Airlines.

“This flight represents another milestone in the growth of Viracopos as a major hub of Azul. We are very excited about adding Paris to our ever growing domestic and international network. We will offer fast and convenient connections from all over Brazil to Paris.”

the chief revenue officer, Azul linhas aereas

Aigle Azur will also form a strategic and commercial partnership with Air Caraibes – a major client of Paris-Orly – and the Portugese flag carrier TAP.

Ultimately, seeing a regeneration of an airline is always interesting. Aigle Azur is sticking to its former markets faithfully but, also, expanding rapidly into unchartered territory for an airline of its size. Flying from Paris-Orly (an airport arguably more convenient for Business travellers travelling into Paris), with a variety of partners around the world and a globally competitive product, Aigle Azur is enjoying something of a renaissance.

 

Southwest 737 Suffers Catastrophic Engine Failure

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 jet made an emergency landing in Philadelphia today after suffering a catastrophic in flight engine failure.

Southwest Flight 1380, from New York to Dallas was cruising at 32,000 feet when the incident occurred. Shrapnel from the explosion collided with the aircraft’s fuselage causing a window to be broken and a nearby passenger to be partially sucked out of the aircraft. Fellow passengers saw the situation unfolding and managed to pull the woman back into the aircraft.

Damage sustained to the Boeing 737-700 (N772SW). (Photo Credit: NBC Philadelphia)

With most passengers on board saying prayers and writing messages for loved ones, the crew ensured all 149 people attached their oxygen masks whilst the pilots executed an emergency descent into Philadelphia.

Upon landing in Philadelphia, a fuel leak caused by the damage ignited a small fire which was quickly extinguished by airport fire fighting services.

Kristopher Johnson, a passenger on board the flight told CNN that “Shrapnel hit the window causing a serious injury. No other details about that. Several medical personnel on the flight tended to the injured passenger”.

The broken window on that one passenger was almost ejected from. (Photo Credit: NBC Philadelphia)

Whilst the exact nature of injuries suffered on board have not been made clear yet, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has confirmed that one person was killed during the incident.

Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) investigators have been dispatched to Pennsylvania to investigate the cause of the incident.

The remains of the CFM-56 Engine (Photo Credit: NBC Philadelphia)

Our thoughts go out to all involved.

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A Compromise on Safety? Qantas adds seats on A380s, by deactivating Emergency Exits

The Australian national carrier, Qantas, has a remarkable safety record; no fatalities or hull losses in the jet era. This extraordinary record of pioneering safety achievements spans the airline’s 97 year history. In 2008, the Advertising Standards Agency challenged Qantas’ remarks that it was the world’s ‘most experienced’ airline. The carrier defended itself fiercely, listing 30 notable industry-leading achievements. I have a feeling that this latest development won’t go down as one of those symbolic actions.

Qantas launched the first ever Aus-UK non-stop flight last month.

After receiving the Airbus A380 10 years ago, the aircraft has become the backbone of the airline’s long haul fleet. In 2012, the airline announced plans to increase the seat count on its aircraft from 450 to 484 seats, by removing toilets and squashing in more seats. Last week, the airline announced its intention to become the launch customer for Airbus’ new ‘Cabin Flex’ programme. The initiative will deliver up to 11 more Premium Economy seats or 7 more Business Class seats. However, there’s a catch. In order to accommodate the new seats, Qantas will be deactivating emergency exits on the upper deck. Here’s how Airbus describes the new line-fit or retrofit solution:

A380 Cabin Flex makes extra space for additional seats  by allowing the upper deck “Doors-3” to be deactivated. The programme can bring up to 11 more Premium Economy seats or 7 more Business Class seats.

The so-called ‘enhancement’ is clearly attractive for airlines. Airbus predicts that there will be a Return on Investment (RoI) in just one year. The cabin-flex option is available to be fitted on new aircraft on delivery or retrofitted onto existing aircraft.

Our author, James, reviewed Qantas’ A380 Economy product earlier this year

Qantas have no plans to receive any more A380s – instead continuing to operate the 12 double-deckers already in their fleet. We don’t know yet whether Qantas will simply install seats in front of the exit doors – which is bound to be confusing for passengers, especially in an emergency – or just cover them up.  Furthermore, the press release never mentions safety. It is widely known that the maximum evacuation time for an aircraft on fire is just 90 seconds. Does the removal of these exits have an affect on that?

Will the cabin-flex option have an adverse effect on safety?

Although the cabin-flex option is attractive for airlines, it certainly isn’t for passengers. With no reassuring message on safety in Airbus’ press release, Qantas need to clarify this immediately, instead of profiteering from extra seats.

SAS order 50 new Airbus A320NEOs with Options for Five More

It was announced a couple of days ago the SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System) has placed an order for a further 50 A320NEO aircraft to complement their standing order of 30. This order will allow SAS to operate a single type fleet by 2023, operating the most efficient aircraft which is flown on many short and medium haul routes from Scandinavia to the rest of Europe.

Credit Mark Djupenstrom

I was lucky enough to fly on-board one of SAS’ NEOs late last year, and here is a snippet from the article:

“NEO is short for New Engine Option, and the new engines are the CFM Leap 1A, the NEO also comes equipped with 2.4 meter-long Sharklets rising up from the wingtips, giving the NEO lower fuel consumption, and an almost 1000 kilometre longer range. Inside the cabin, SAS have chosen overhead compartments that are significantly larger than the CEO A320s. Another new feature is the placement of the AFT toilets. ‘Two toilets are placed next to each other towards the aft bulkhead, the lateral one is designed to be more accessible for people with reduced mobility. ’SAS currently have 12 NEOs out of the 30 they had on order alongside 12 CEO A320s. SAS are the largest operator of the A320NEO in Europe and it was about time I got on-board to see what it offered.”

Read the full review here.

Overall I found the NEO a very pleasant experience, the updated cabin added to the already positive user experience which combined with SAS’ exemplary on-time performance. The quiet NEO made for a very pleasant and relaxing flight.



Today, the Scandinavian airline is investing heavily in biofuels and has also been working for several years on increased production of biofuels to use for their operations. This upgrade in passenger experience and lower fuel consumption has contributed heavily towards SAS’ growth, enabling the Scandinavian airline to purchase these new aircraft, further pushing for a single-type fleet.

Back in 2012, SAS were operating six different aircraft types on short-haul but currently operate only two – the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 – however, SAS hope to phase out all remaining 737s by 2023 to pave way for one single aircraft type for their intra-Europe operations, thus leading to standardization and increased efficiency, as well as lower maintenance costs.

Over central London descending into Heathrow

The new order of NEOs are expected to be delivered from Spring 2019 through to 2021 (15 will be leased) and a further 35 direct from Airbus being delivered up untill 2023. It is said that this order includes an option for up to a further 5 A320NEOs and through leasing agents, SAS can tailor their growth based on their current circumstances. All the new A320NEOs will be equipped with SAS’ new high speed Wi-Fi.

“We are proud with this repeat commitment by SAS. The A320neo will complement SAS’s existing Airbus fleet, with unbeatable fuel efficiency and the lowest operating costs and environmental footprint. It is the perfect choice for SAS, for replacing its older generation aircraft. This means more of SAS’s passengers will keep enjoying the best comfort in the skies,” said Eric Schulz, Chief Commercial Officer, Airbus Commercial Aircraft.

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IAG Take Step Towards Norwegian Takeover

British Airways’ parent-company IAG has bought a near 5% stake in low-cost airline Norwegian Air with a view to buy the airline outright. 

The 4.61% stake acquired by IAG, who are the parent-company to British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and Level, seems to be the first step in a possible takeover.

“The minority investment is intended to establish a position from which to initiate discussions with Norwegian, including the possibility of a full offer for Norwegian,” IAG

The move shows how Norwegian’s entrance into the long-haul market has ruffled feathers in recent years. In the last few years Norwegian have begun offering long-haul flights across the Atlantic for as little as £99 – something IAG just couldn’t compete with.

I reviewed Norwegian’s premium offering last year-check it out.

Norwegian are able to offer these low fares because of the ‘pick and choose’ business model they have established. While no-frills travel has become the norm in short-haul flying over the past 10 years, this model has only recently taken to long-haul flights. While passengers flying with British Airways would be given extras such as checked baggage and food included in the ticket, Norwegian would make passengers pay extra.

National carriers have been battling with the issue of being priced out by low-cost carriers a lot recently with Air France launching ‘JOON‘, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic launching basic fares without checked baggage and BA going 10-abreast out of Gatwick. This move certainly shows how Norwegian are a large threat to the industry as we know it.

737MAX

With Norwegian’s large route network it is easy to assume they are doing very well but their results suggest otherwise. While a profit was made in 2016, Norwegian posted results for 2017 which showed they had made a net $38.5m loss. In March, Norwegian announced plans to raise more money by selling aircraft and its frequent flyer scheme.

Whether this takeover is finalised or not, it shows the impact that low-cost carriers are having on the aviation market.

Will this bid develop into a Norwegian takeover? Get involved by using the hashtag #londonspotter on all platforms.

April 2018 Fare Finder: Summer Holiday Preview

Your Guide To The Best Value Air fares For The Month Ahead!

We all know that finding and booking flights to your favourite destinations without breaking the bank isn’t easy, so here is a guide that gives you the opportunity to take advantage of the best value air fares. This months edition is going to be a bit different; we’re going to be looking ahead at some of the best deals for the UK Summer School Holidays. Why? Because we know that getting the best price during the most expensive time of the year isn’t easy.

This month Fare Finder has been published a little differently to previous editions. We are listing our top picks by airline and not destination. Giving you more choice than ever before!



JET2:

Part of Jet2’s advertising campaign for this summer has been flights offered at £49. So it’s reassuring to see that you can still find these flights (and even cheaper ones) for August. For anyone who has never flown with TripAdvisor’s Most Loved UK Airline, you definitely need to. With an extensive route network and award winning customer service, what are you waiting for? Give them a try!

The following flights cover some of Spain’s untapped charms. Sitting on the Southern coast are Almeria and Murica. Together they offer an alternative to the more popular resorts of Costa Blanca and  the Costa del Sol. Along with Menorca, lying out in the Mediterranean Sea, Jet2’s offering of cheap flights offers travelers the opportunity to experience the culture and comfort of these Spanish delights.

  • Birmingham – Almeria, August 26th, £39 per person!
  • Edinburgh – Murcia, August 7th, £49 per person!
  • Manchester – Menorca, August 23rd, £50 per person.
  • Book you Jet2 flights here or for the cheapest options here.
Jet2 also offer a generous 22kgs baggage allowance for a reasonable price!
Primera Air:

Much of the focus for Primera’s flight offerings has been on their Transatlantic routes. The airline is also keen to expand their European operations, with the launch of short haul routes being flown on Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Flying to popular summer sun destinations, it appears that they are looking to challenge its competitors and establish themselves in an already crowded market.

Being based out of Birmingham and London Stansted, they will be battling it out with the likes of Jet2 and TUI. Destinations such as Malaga, Alicante and Crete are popular with British holidaymakers, so it is no surprise that Primera has identified them as their first destinations. With no explanation needed for these resorts, its time to see their flight prices!

  • London Stansted – Malaga, August 28th, £40 per person.
  • London Stansted – Alicante, August 29th, £35 per person.
  • Birmingham – Chania, August 20th, £62 per person.
  • Book Primera Air flights here or again for cheaper options here.
British airways:

When most people think of the nation’s flag carrier, they don’t automatically associate them with flying to your normal bucket and spade destinations. However, the reality is far from it. Gatwick plays host to the majority of it’s European holiday destinations, giving travelers the opportunity to experience first class hospitality at economy prices.

BA fly to arguably the hottest holiday destination in recent years, Majorca. Much loved for it’s easy going atmosphere, low prices and stunning beaches, it’s no wonder families flock here year on year. For people looking for something very different why not try Nice? This gem of a city found in the south of France flawlessly combines it’s world renowned appeal along with its traditional feel.

  • London Gatwick – Nice, August 30th, £35 per person.
  • London Gatwick – Ibiza, August 4th, £44 per person.
  • London Heathrow – Palma, August 31st, £48 per person.
  • Book your BA flights here! or over at SkyScanner where we found excellent deals.
Even British Airways fly the night Ibiza. It’s one of the only flights where the party truly does start as soon as you step on board!
Flybe:

Europe’s largest regional airline often incorporates summer sun destinations alongside its regular flying program. This gives people living in regional parts of the UK, the ease of flying abroad without having to drive for hours to reach their nearest major airport. Operating the majority of their European sun routes on Embraer ERJ aircraft, the Jungle Jet offers comfort with it’s 2-2 seating configuration.

Flybe fly from 26 UK Airports to all over Europe

Not always seen as a first choice airline when it comes to flying the family away for their holidays, Flybe offers destinations that are off the beaten track such as Corsica. Popular with hikers who are ken to experience it’s national parks or couples looking to unwind for a week, the island offers something for everyone. For people perhaps looking to stay within the UK and hope that we have something more than a weeks worth of sunshine, the airline offers flights to Newquay. Popular with surfers or families on a budget, Cornwall could be host to your next getaway.

  • Southampton – Corsica, August 26th, £45 per person.
  • Doncaster Sheffield – Palma, August 20th, £45 per person.
  • Birmingham – Newquay, August 19th, £30 per person.
  • Book your flights here!


Want to find flight bargains for yourself? We recommend using SkyScanner and Momondo for the best deals.

In next months fare finder:

We’ll look ahead at the best flights for the May Bank Holidays!

Aegean Orders up to 42 A320neo aircraft, worth $5bn



In one of the largest investments by a private Greek company since the financial crisis in 2010, the Greek national flag carrier – Aegean Air – has selected its long-term fleet replacement. Valued at $5bn, the airline will proceed with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus, for up to 42 aircraft within the A320neo family.

Aegean Air currently operates an all-Airbus fleet, so it should come as no surprise that the Greek carrier has opted to continue, in the interests of commonality. Specifically, the airline will order 30 members of the A320neo family (with at least 10 of these being placed for the larger A321neo, with options for further conversions). Of course, the MoU suggests the airline will eventually order 42 aircraft, so Aegean Air has options for twelve more planes.

Aegean currently operates 46 A320ceo aircraft – SX-DGZ is seen here in Manchester.

The final agreement with Airbus is estimated to be reached in June 2018 and will, of course, allow Aegean to increase capacity with new routes and more frequencies but also (in the longer term), replace their current fleet. In 2017, Aegean’s fleet consisted of 46 Airbus A320 family aircraft, along with 12 turboprops operating under the name of their subsidiary – Olympic Air, so this order could theoretically replace most of Aegean’s fleet in one swoop. Interestingly, however, Aegean has not named an engine supplier and has initiated negotiations with both engine manufacturers (CFM International or Pratt & Whitney).

“Today marks the beginning of new period of growth and development for AEGEAN. With the investment in new generation Airbus A320neo aircraft, we strengthen our competitiveness and provide a platform that empowers our people to further improve service to our passengers as well the, important, first impression we provide to visitors of our country.”

-mr eftichios vassilakis, vice chairman of Aegean air
Aegean Air’s current network, originating from Athens.

Aegean currently only operates flights within Europe and the Middle East, but clearly, the new aircraft, with increased range capabilities of additional 600 to 1,500 km (equivalent to 1 to 2 hours of extra flight hours), will enable the airline to expand further. Perhaps Aegean will be looking to emulate it’s neighbouring airlines such as Turkish, to create a hub in its Athens base. Traces of this approach can already be seen, as Athens acts as a connecting point for the Greek islands and Aegean now fly to destinations in the middle East such as Kuwait and Tehran. With aircraft such as the A321neo, the airline may be looking to launch flights to destinations such as Dubai, India and deeper Africa from it’s Athenian hub.

Ultimately, the order is important news for Aegean and Greece on the whole. The largest private investment in Greece will no doubt also bring benefit to the Greek population – with increased connectivity, comfort and tourism from their national carrier.

March 2018: Delivery Report – Boeing Boom



In February’s Delivery Report we began a new feature: Delivery of the Month. In February, the award went to Airbus as they delivered a bigger, better version of the A350 to Qatar Airways. This time, however, the award goes to Boeing as they delivered a bigger and better version of the Boeing 787.

Delivery of the Month: Singapore Airlines Boeing 787-10

The delivery of 9V-SCA to Singapore Airlines on March 26th was one that made history. Singapore are the first airline to receive this aircraft and will be flying it to Bangkok, Osaka and Kuala Lumpur. Reservations for this beautiful aircraft can be made here. 

This delivery was a major success for Boeing and highlighted how the month would pan out for the US based manufacturer. Boeing had an amazing month in March as they delivered 16 787 models, seven 777s and 20 737MAX aircraft.

Singapore 787-10 by Singapore Airlines

While this was the only -10 model to be delivered, Boeing also three 787s to Norwegian Air, two to both Xiamen and TUI, and one to El Al IsraelVirgin Atlantic, Air Europa, Saudia, ANA, British Airways and KLM. Another notable delivery was that of LOT‘s first ever B787-9 aircraft.

LOT picked a lovely day for the delivery! Photo by LOT

Boeing’s MAX project also boomed in March as they delivered three MAX aircraft to Air Canada, two to Westjet, American and Shanghai Airlines and one to Oman Air, Thai Lion Air, China Southern, TUI, Hainan, Southwest and Smartwings.

Notable MAX deliveries included the first 737MAX aircraft to Icelandair and one to SCAT. The delivery to SCAT was initially meant for Monarch Airlines but as they went bust, they had to give up the order.

This livery really suits the MAX in my opinion. Photo by Boeing

At the 777 plant in Seattle, Boeing handed over the keys for seven aircraft. These included two to both United and Korean Air and one to both Qatar and Air India.

The most notable 777 delivery was to SWISS Airlines who received their 10th and final 777 on order.

Photo by Swiss

Over at Airbus, the month wasn’t as successful. They continued to struggle with engine problems on the NEO and thus only delivered nine models and only handed over four A350s, five A330s and one A380.

The NEO delivers went to returning customers. Two were delivered to both Frontier and Air Asia and Vistara, Avianca, LATAM, Easyjet and Pegasus all received one.

The A350 project delivered four models with one each going to Delta, China Airlines, Thai and Vietnam Airlines.

Photo by Airbus

Airbus did make one headline in March as they delivered the first A380 of 2018. The model went to Emirates who have the largest number of super-jumbos.

The Bombardier C-Series project delivered four CS300 models with two each going to SWISS and Korean.

Want to know what being on a delivery flight is like? Click here.

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Sweden Introduces New Aviation Tax

On April 1st, Sweden introduced a new aviation tax to all passenger flights departing the country, with hopes that it will help to limit the effect that air travel has on the environment.

Anyone travelling with Swedish based carriers such as SAS Scandinavian will be affected.

All flights departing on an aircraft that carries 10 passengers or more, will now have an added charge of between 60 to 400 Swedish Krona on it. The exact charge will vary depending on the destination of the flight. There are exemptions to this tax; with Flight Crew, children under the age of 2 and any passengers that have not yet reached their final destination.

When speaking to journalists from the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Climate Minister Isabella Lovin stated, “The objective of the tax is to minimize the carbon footprint of flights following the sharp rise in air travel”. The same newspaper held a poll amongst it’s readers, to which 53% of Swedes said they support the governments ruling to introduce the tax.

Should we be more focused on Bio-Fuels instead of taxing carbon emissions? The Centre Party certainly think so…

The move has not been without criticism, with political organisation Centre Party strongly opposing the ruling. Instead they have called for airlines to be committed to using a set percentage of Bio-Fuels in their day to day operations. Surprisingly, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has also spoken out against the Tax. Mats Björsell, a spokesperson for the Agency has said that the tax isn’t expected to have a major impact on the amount of emissions produced. Speaking to a local radio station he said, “There’s no direct effect on the emissions, it’s there, but that’s not important, but you have to start somewhere to pay for the climate impact from our flights“.

What do you think of the Tax, Is it a good Idea? Let us know on Twitter with the hashtag #londonspotter on your posts!

 

Want more like this? Why not check out our March 2018 Route Review!

 

Air Belgium gets off to a flying start: Brussels-Hong Kong ON SALE and LAUNCHING 30th April

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.

Air Belgium’s Airbus A340 (adorned with the national colours of Belgium). The airline now has two Airbus A340-300 aircraft: OO-ABA and -ABB.

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.

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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.

Air Belgium’s A340 will be configured with four rows of Business Class, three rows of Premium Economy and the middle and rear portions of the aircraft will form the Economy class cabin.

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.