LONDON – Air Belgium has finally completed its inaugural flight to Hong Kong after numerous delays pushed back the airline’s planned departure date.
The delays were down to numerous reasons with the airline needing to tackle issues such as not being able to obtain overfly rights from the Russian government in time for the first flight which was originally planned to be in April and fixing their GDS system which was not allowing Chinese travelers to book with the airline.
"Being able to tell our Asian business contacts that from now on we can offer direct flights between #Belgium and #HongKong, is an incredible advantage", says @PaulMagnette during our launch event. #airbelgium #SimplyFlyAway pic.twitter.com/QwChCLmqlI
— Air Belgium (@airbelgium_off) June 6, 2018
The success of the flight, however, is a different story, with the airline CEO Niky Terzakis saying that the ticket sales were “relatively good”, however, the bookings back from Hong Kong were below the company’s expectations.
Terzakis said: “The bookings are too low for my liking. We are at about 39 percent of bookings out of Hong Kong, and it should be about 50 to 60 percent as a target.” Despite this though he was confident that the airline would begin to break even within six months of operations.
The next move for Air Belgium will be for the company to continue to expand its fleet and route network. Mr. Terzakis did say that they would be looking to move more into the Chinese market with three new destinations to mainland China being added by September this year, he said that they will all be secondary cities and confirmed that one of the three new destinations will be to the City of Wuhan.
Air Belgium currently operates off of Brussels South Charleroi airport and according to the CEO a “hybrid carrier” with it offering full services at low fares. At the moment a flight with Air Belgium in Economy will cost around HK$4,499 for a single round trip, HK$9,999 in premium economy and HK$19,999 in business.
The aircraft in its tri-class configuration current has the ability to carry 300 passengers with 18 Business, 21 Premium economy and 261 economy seats, the business cabin will be laid out in a 2-2-2 configuration with premium economy and the economy being laid out in a 2-3-2 configuration.
In the future, it is unlikely that we will continue to see the airline operate the A340-300s with Mr. Tezakis saying that they were looking to bring in new aircraft for its fleet with the current planes being interim aircraft, but there has been no confirmation or hints as to exactly what aircraft they will operate.