By Victoria Moores, ATW Daily News
Long-haul start-up Air Belgium has been granted Russian overflight permission, cementing its revised June 3 launch date.
In a May 18 statement, Air Belgium said it has "taken care of the last arrangements" and will launch with an initial flight between Brussels Charleroi and Hong Kong June 3.
Air Belgium 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 the airline 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 has been forced to adapt the frequency of its flights to Hong Kong during the launch phase. The company will offer two flights per week in June, followed by three per week from July onward and, finally, four per week from October onward," Air Belgium said.
Air Belgium CEO Niky Terzakis said the airline should have its third 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 seven destinations--six in mainland China plus Hong Kong--by fall 2018, supported by a fleet of four Airbus A340-300s to be operational by July.