Air Belgium is the Charleroi-based airline that began flying between Charleroi and Hong Kong in early June. Their strategy was to operate a hub in Charleroi and fly to several points in China. They started with Hong Kong, but their plan was to eventually add destinations in mainland China.
I flew Air Belgium from Charleroi to Hong Kong and had a lovely flight, though I still found their business model to be whack from day one.
Anyway, Belgian newspaper L’Avenir is reporting that Air Belgium plans to discontinue flights to Hong Kong, and instead focus on their charter business. The airline currently has four A340-300s in their fleet (all of which used to fly for Finnair), and they’re operating a single scheduled flight three times per week.
The airline has been leasing out planes to other airlines that have a need, and so far they’ve primarily been leasing planes to Air France and British Airways. So the plan is for Air Belgium to instead focus on that. As I’ve been saying about the airline since day one:
If the airline has any chance of surviving (at least in the near future), they should simply fully operate as a charter airline operating flights on behalf of other airlines. With the issues we’re seeing with the 787 at the moment, as well as all the short term needs airlines often have for planes, I could see Air Belgium turning into something like Hi Fly. That’s of course completely different than what they initially intended.
What’s interesting here is that just a few weeks ago Air Belgium’s CEO made some interesting claims about their success. He claimed they’d launch their next route between September and November, that they had an average load factor of 75-80%, and that they were happy with the success of the Hong Kong route.
That didn’t sound right, so I’m not surprised to see them ending this flight.
As of now Air Belgium flights continue to be bookable on airbelgium.com, so it looks like they haven’t pulled the plug yet. I’ll post again when we get full details of when the route is being discontinued. I still have a Hong Kong to Charleroi flight booked that has been rescheduled twice, so I guess that’s never happening.
It continues to blow my mind how airlines like this get funding and investors. If anyone has millions of dollars they’d like to light on fire, please email me, I’d be more than happy to help!
(Tip of the hat to Aviation24 & @MeenzMev)
Endre and fake Endre... I prefer fake Endre!! And just so everyone is aware, Endre pays for his numerous first class flights!!
As I said back when: you think you're going to be profitable flying what?
In other news,
The mafia has ended their money laundering business in Belgium and is now looking for a new strategic partner.
I'm booking now to get a free Cathay Pacific ticket ;)
If only they’d offer first class, so I could pay for their seats with my money. I would’ve saved them.
Air Belgium must have read your blog and decided to follow your consulting comments. :-)
"If anyone has millions of dollars they’d like to light on fire," US Global Airways is always looking for more investors.
speaking of which, it's been awhile now since there's any update at all from them. I wonder how they are doing.
I never ever listen to any CEO, CFO, COO etc standing in front of employees, in front of press drumming their chest of success and "no we won't sell the company" ... look at financial reports if public co, or the best I can and I make my own determination before I put 1 cent on them. Unfortunately the world is full of sheep (see iphone including myself)....
Oh shit—that was fast
Quelle surprise! What are you doing to obsess about now Lucky? :-)
If one was to book a flight on their website now, do you think they'd end up re-accommodating you on say, CX J instead? ;-)