Air Belgium Forced to Postpone Inaugural Flight Just Days Before Takeoff
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Just a scant few weeks after announcing its inaugural route between Brussels South Charleroi (CRL) and Hong Kong (HKG), new airline Air Belgium has had to backtrack. The inaugural flight to Hong Kong, which was supposed to take place on April 30, will now be pushed back to June 3 because Russia has not yet approved the route, which will pass through Russian airspace.
“At this date and despite all efforts of our teams and the Belgian authorities, we are still expecting to receive the overflight permit from the Russian authorities, knowing that overflying through the Russian airspace is unavoidable,” Niky Terzakis, CEO of Air Belgium, said. “Air Belgium did secure all other required permits well in advance. However, the Russian permit has not yet been granted. In addition to the uncertainty created by the above, the complicated and delayed GDS (Global Distribution Systems) implementation has also prevented Chinese tourists groups from being directed to our flights.”
Earlier this month, Terzakis estimated that 60-70% of the airline’s revenue would come from China, and that Air Belgium expects around 500,000 passengers starting out, so the lack of tourist group bookings no doubt also influenced the airline’s decision to postpone the inaugural flight.
Terzakis said that all affected passengers had already been informed by e-mail and would be individually called for an apology. Passengers would also receive the following alternatives: a seat on a flight of another airline, a deferred travel date with Air Belgium (including financial compensation) or full reimbursement. “Everything will be done to find a solution for each passenger,” he said.
“This was a hard call to make considering the market expectations, but we take the protection of our travellers’ interests to heart,” Terzakis said. “In the meantime, we are doing everything we can to obtain the overflight permit as fast as possible and to support tour operators in making the necessary arrangements in time.”
Featured image courtesy of Air Belgium.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees