AirBelgium launches direct flights to South Africa


AirBelgium is a Belgian airline founded in 2016 whose main mission is to connect Belgium to the world by offering direct & long-haul flights at affordable price. Since September 2022, AirBelgium officially launched direct flights connecting Brussels, Belgium to Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.

What is AirBelgium all about? And what does “Fly Belgian Class » mean?

AirBelgium is characterized by its warm welcome and generosity on board its aircraft. As the airline would say, “flying Belgian Class” means enjoying Belgian know-how, the hospitality of the crew and the best comfort on board to ensure the best travel experience to passengers.

AirBelgium offers on board its A330neo three travel classes : Business, Premium and Economy.

In Business class, the 1-2-1 seat configuration offers comfortable flatbeds and
privacy for solo passengers. Gourmet meals, including Belgian specialties, are prepared with fresh local products. Passengers travelling in Business class can enjoy access to fast-track and lounges in all airports. In Premium class, travellers can easily “stretch their legs” with extra space and wider seats with a comfortable 2-3-2 reclining seat configuration. High quality meals part of the Business class menu and access to lounge in Brussels Airport are also offered to Premium passengers. The Economy class cabin benefits from better and wider seats paired with individual screens including USB-port. passengers also enjoy a generous baggage allowance a generous baggage allowance in all travel classes.

The brand-new A330-900neo flies twice a week between Belgium and South Africa. This new generation aircraft offers the best comfort, a quiet cabin, the latest technologies and inflight entertainment system, including Wi-Fi. Thanks to a better fuel consumption, this aircraft is more eco-friendly : it reduces fuel burn & CO2 emissions by -25%, and also noise footprint.

What are AirBelgium’s activities in South Africa and on the African continent?

Until now, no direct connections were available between Brussels, the heart of Europe and South Africa, the economic center of the continent. Prior to AirBelgium‘s direct flights, more than 60,000 passengers per year were already travelling between the two countries without direct air service (i.e. via major hubs in France, the Netherlands or the Middle East). This provides a great opportunity for new business development between Belgium and South Africa.

AirBelgium expands its network
on the African continent

AirBelgium has concluded a commercial agreement with Airlink, the leading private airline in South Africa: “We are delighted that our dynamic agreement with Airlink will allow us to offer our
customers seamless connections to
12 popular South African leisure and business destinations such as the Kruger National Park, Durban and Gqeberha (formerly known as Port Elizabeth) as well as important business destinations like Kimberley, Bloemfontein and Richards Bay amongst others. We’re also excited to be able to offer our passengers the possibility to travel to bucket list destinations within the SADC region such as Windhoek and Lubumbashi for example”,
says Niky Terzakis, CEO AirBelgium.

The airline has also carefully planned its flight schedule to suit the passengers‘ needs: “business  passengers may enjoy convenient overnight flights out of Brussels on Sunday evening to arrive in South Africa on Monday morning. On the way back, travellers can choose to fly on Thursday evening and touch down in Brussels on Friday, right before the week-end. This means a full four days of work in South Africa”, says Emmanuel Menu, CCO AirBelgium.

What can we expect from AirBelgium in terms of growth?

A direct route to South Africa is a first step in AirBelgium‘s expansion into this important market. AirBelgium has been operating direct bi-weekly flights between Brussels and Mauritius for over a year. The airline aims to connect Belgium to major destinations on the African continent. These two destinations can, therefore, also be combined by travelling to South Africa and back via Mauritius, or vice-versa.

AirBelgium is an agile company that succeeded in diversifying its activities. The airline has launched air cargo activities for almost three years now and two Boeing B747-8Fs joined the fleet in 2022.

More specifically, as Belgium is the 8th largest trading partner with South Africa, especially in the mining industry, AirBelgium offers cargo capacity on departure from South Africa with substantial transport of food and perishable goods.

The airline also operates charter and ACMI flights for other airlines, cruises and tour operators with additional capacity needs. Major names in aviation and travel industry have already called on its services, offering the airline excellent feedback : “the enthusiasm and professionalism of our team as well as our efficient ground and inflight services have convinced many of our partners and customers”, concludes Niky Terzakis, CEO AirBelgium.

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