Air Belgium announced that it would start its operations on June 3, 2018. Its first flight will be from Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL), Belgium, to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) in China. The airline initially planned to start on April 30, 2018. However, it lacked the necessary authorizations from Russia to travel through its airspace.

Based in Brussels-Charleroi airport, the new low-cost company is destined to open several routes towards Asian cities, starting with Hong Kong. To be able to operate efficiently, Air Belgium had to secure its access through Siberia. Alternative routes outside of the Russian airspace in case of a refusal had been studied but would have required further negotiations with other countries and add an hour and a half to flights.

Air Belgium was originally supposed to offer four flights towards Hong Kong per week, but due to the delays in the Russian discussions, it will only carry out two weekly flights. That number should be extended to three in July 2018, and to the initially planned four flights from October 2018. The company will also open new routes towards mainland China in the coming months, according to Niky Terzakis, CEO of Air Belgium.

The startup airline operates a fleet of two A340-300s acquired from Finnair in February 2017. Terzakis told the Dutch aviation news portal Luchtvaartnieuws that it was looking into having a third plane operational by the end of June 2018.

Icelandic airlines are still not authorized to fly through the Russian airspace. This has been keeping WOW air and Icelandair from accessing East Asia. To cope with the ban, companies are now turning their attention towards India.