Confirmed: Air Belgium Canceling Hong Kong Flights As Of October 1, 2018

Earlier today I wrote about how Air Belgium will soon be discontinuing flights to Hong Kong, per Belgian media reports. Air Belgium has now issued a press release about this, so let’s look at what they have to say.

Air Belgium suspending flights to Hong Kong

Air Belgium has announced that they will “temporarily pause” flights from Charleroi to Hong Kong during the coming winter period, between October 1, 2018, and March 30, 2019. That means they’re giving just over a week notice of this cancelation.

What I can’t make sense of, for the life of me, is Air Belgium’s explanation:

The reason for the pause is the fact that Air Belgium faced the non-respect of contractual terms by its major commercial partner regarding tariffs and load factor. Under these conditions, Air Belgium is unwilling to carry out the winter program as initially planned and to endanger its financial position. In good faith we’ve tried to find a solution for our partner’s defaulting situation to date.

The negotiations went on for several weeks. Because the new season was about to start, and due to the lost confidence in the partner, Air Belgium however did not want to risk having to operate from an even more complex situation.

Sorry, but what am I missing? What are they even talking about? The only thing I can come up with is that maybe they had some tour group operators that promised to purchase a certain number of seats and didn’t, or something? But that press release makes very little sense to me.

The press release goes on to say the following:

During the pause Air Belgium will continue operating for other legacy airlines and focus on launching its air service to Mainland China, such as Zhengzhou. We are maintaining our development plans.

The pause will have no consequences on Air Belgium’s employment level. On the contrary, we continue our hiring efforts to meet the market demands and to realize our plans.

We also would like to make clear that our decision to operate scheduled air services from Brussels Charleroi airport is not questioned and will be maintained. Customers satisfaction and the convenience has been validated by massive positive feedback and our strategy to operate from Charleroi is to remain.

Needless to say that passengers holding reservations during the suspension period will be contacted individually and handled personally.

So they claim that the route will resume next spring, which I think is highly unlikely. They also say that they’ll move forward with flights to mainland China in the coming months, which I also think is highly unlikely.

What do I do in my situation?

Europe has strict regulations regarding airline compensation in the event of delays and cancelations. I’ve now given the airline the benefit of the doubt several times, though I’m curious if anyone can make sense of what I’m entitled to at this point:

So can anyone make sense of where I stand when it comes to EU261, either based on my current situation, or based on my previous confirmed business class flight having been canceled? Oy.

Comments

  1. Shocker. Next, the weather: Hurricane Florence one of the wettest we’ve ever seen from the standpoint of water

  2. It’s been a couple years since you’ve reviewed CX J. Maybe they can rebook you to Cathay Pacific business class on their A350.

  3. EU261 /2004 applies only if you have a confirmed ticket on a specific flight. At this point you don´t have a ticket – it´s and open booking. The best you can expect is a refund.

  4. That statement…..
    Obviously there’s major drama going on between those running the airline and those injecting cash into the airline. Someone is very disappointed there…

    Now to your EU261 Ben….
    It gets interesting since they are stopping the route. Your ticket is rather open and the airline is withdrawing from the route. You fall in that Air Berlin Situation ‘somehow’.

    You will be probably asked when you intend to fly… then you’ll either be rebooked on probably CX or you get your money back. Possibly full fare back since they probably don’t want drama.

  5. Customers satisfaction and the convenience has been validated by massive positive feedback and our strategy to operate from Charleroi is to remain. You are Massive Lucky – they obviously thought your feedback was the best.

  6. It is my guess that their partners are China tour groups who have failed to find the passengers for the airline . It is surprising that the discontinuing date is 1st Oct , because 1st to 7th Oct is China ”golden week” when many take a holiday . 1st is a public holiday . It is also my guess they will look for new partners for Chinese New Year holidays in Feb 2019 when many go overseas .

  7. I guess this might be a good place to ask this question:

    I was trying to identify all the direct flights from Europe* to South-East Asia operated by low-cost carriers. So far I’ve only got Scoot Airlines’ ATH – SIN and TXL – SIN, Norwegian’s LGW – SIN (which ALSO seems to be on its way out), and… that’s about it.

    Is there anything else out there? Is low-cost long haul between these two regions just not viable?

    * Europe = everything between Istanbul and the Northern Atlantic.

  8. @neaorin

    Norwegian operates to Bangkok from Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen, was among the first long haul routes they opened.

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