Air Belgium Is Planning Routes to the United States in 2018
Newly minted airline Air Belgium is planning on adding flights to the United Sates later this year.
The Brussels-based carrier filed an application for Exemption Authority and a Foreign Air Carrier Permit with the US Department of Transportation -- documentation that any foreign air carrier that wishes to operate commercial flights to the US must obtain -- Ch-Aviation reported on Wednesday.
"Air Belgium requests expedited approval of this application so that marketing and sale of the proposed services can begin without delay," the regulatory filing stated.
The airline intends to first make Belgium-US charter flights before moving into scheduled flight operations.
Air Belgium currently operates two A340-300s twice a week between Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL) to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). The carrier made its first commercial flight with just 15 passengers on June 3 (Air Belgium's A340s are configured to seat 303 people). The inaugural flight was originally planned for April 30, but it had to be postponed to await Russian approval for use of its airspace for the route.
The news of Air Belgium expanding its route network into the US is a bit of a surprise because the long-haul carrier seemed to be primarily focused on the Asian market. Air Belgium CEO Niky Terzakis told Airline Geeks in March that the airline's initial route expansion beyond its first CRL-HKG route would be six other destinations in the Chinese mainland.
It isn't clear exactly which US airports or cities the airline plans to serve. TPG reached out to Air Belgium for more details but did not receive a response by the time of publication. It's probably safe to say that these US-bound flights might face delays because the airline is already running behind in its expansion plans.
Terzakis said in March that Air Belgium would already be serving its six additional Chinese destinations by May 2018, and it didn't even get its first CRL-HKG route off the ground until June.