Air Belgium ceases passenger flights to focus on cargo and ACMI

John Taggart / Wikipedia

Air Belgium has made the decision to halt its passenger flight operations to focus on the transport of goods and Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance (ACMI) services. 

Flights scheduled after October 3, 2023, may be canceled and “refunded on a priority basis,” Air Belgium said. 

The decision, announced by the board of directors on September 18, 2023, comes in response to chronic profitability issues exacerbated by stiff competition in the passenger aviation market and “external events that have weakened the company.”  

Air Belgium’s board of directors also initiated a judicial reorganization procedure, submitted through amicable agreement, to navigate its debt and restore profitability. This step is expected to enable the company to negotiate with its creditors to reduce its financial obligations. 

“The proceedings are also intended to reorganize the company’s lines of business by disposing of or, where appropriate, discontinuing unprofitable activities which would have no prospect of viability if continued,” the company clarified in a statement. “The purpose of said proceedings is to ensure the company’s long-term viability, with no impact on the legal entity under any circumstances.”  

During this transitional period, employees associated with passenger flight operations will remain active and secure in their positions, as they will be progressively reassigned to roles within the freight and charter services divisions. 

Air Belgium’s financial situation has also attracted attention from regional stakeholders, according to public broadcaster RTBF. The Walloon region has invested substantially in the airline, with a total commitment of €15.7 million in capital, €1.8 million in loans, and €3.5 million in guarantees. Wallonia’s economic and financial entity, Wallonie Entreprendre (WE), played a significant role in this investment, with a current ownership stake of 33% in the airline. 

Established in 2016, Air Belgium initially planned to connect Belgium and Asia. Since 2022 however, the airline reoriented its network towards Africa, with destinations including South Africa and Mauritius. 

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