It’s less than 200 miles as the crow flies between the Docklands of East London, where London City Airport (LCY) is located, and the Flemish port city of Antwerp (ANR). However, air links between the two have had a shaky historical record.
VLM, the airline that traditionally operated this route (for a few years under the CityJet umbrella), had its fair share of financial woes and finally went under in 2018. A successor airline called Air Antwerp took over immediately after, but with similar success.
This time Luxembourg’s flag carrier Luxair will attempt to re-establish and consolidate the link between these two traditional centers of maritime trade, which face each other from opposite sides of the English Channel.
Instead of the vintage Fokker 50s operated by VLM, it will be a Bombardier Dash DHC-8 Q400 aircraft with 76 seats that will ensure four-weekly connections between LCY and Antwerp (on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday). The plan is to increase it to five-weekly in the summer season.
Airlines operating between the UK and Belgium face competition from Eurostar high-speed rail services, which connect London to Brussels and Amsterdam via the Channel Tunnel.