Air Belgium not ready to give up yet
Almost a month after announcing the suspension of its partnership with Chinese UTour, Air Belgium board held a general meeting with shareholders on October 18, 2018, to discuss the future of the airline.
After a mere ten weeks of operations, Air Belgium announced on September 21, 2018, that it would interrupt its flights from Charleroi Airport (BSCA) to Hong Kong International Airport (HGK) during the coming winter period.
The meeting held on October 18, 2018, was to decide if the airline should continue operating or be dissolved. It seems that the first solution was chosen. The company will keep operating for legacy airlines. It already leased some of its aircraft to Air France and British Airlines during summer 2018. "The management presented the actions undertaken as part of its business plan. The shareholders took note and saw no reason to question the continuity of the company," said Air Belgium.
In the meantime, Niky Terzakis, CEO of Air Belgium, signed an agreement on October 17, 2018, with Henan Civil Aviation Development & Investment, the investment fund of the Henan province in China, which already holds a 25% in the Luxembourgish cargo airline Cargolux. It could hint at a route between Charleroi Airport (BSCA) and Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO), a project which was already being discussed prior to UTour’s defect.
After delays in acquiring an AOC, a late authorization from Russian authorities to fly through the Siberian airspace and a breach of contract from UTour regarding their terms on tariffs and load factor, Air Belgium had an unfortunate beginning. “Nothing to worry about”, said Terzakis to Belgian media L’Echo. The several ACMI contracts will have to keep the company airborne long enough to find another Chinese partner, and finally fly again under its own name.
The airline operates a fleet of four A340-300s acquired from Finnair between February 2017 and June 2018. After leasing one of its aircraft to Air France and British Airlines during summer 2018, the airline said it would continue operating for other legacy airlines.
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