Air Belgium officially introduces its new Airbus A330neo and launches Mauritius
The Belgian airline, Air Belgium, will officially launch its new destination to Mauritius from Brussels Airport on 15 October with its new Airbus A330neo. The aircraft will operate two flights per week. At the launch event on 12 October, the CEO of the Belgian airline, Niky Terzakis, explained the qualities of the new aircraft and the new destination, while emphasising that the company is continuing its development. This includes the arrival of new, state–of–the–art aircraft, the opening of new routes and the resumption of flights to Guadeloupe and Martinique as of December, as well as the expansion of cargo activities, thus creating new jobs.
Air Belgium reiterated: Given the favourable sanitary evolution, bi–weekly flights to Guadeloupe will resume on 3 December and to Martinique on 4 December from Brussels Charleroi airport. Flights to Curaçao will now be operated via Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Lastly, the airline will operate flights to Mauritius from 15 October with the new Airbus A330neo, with two flights per week from Brussels Airport.
A new high-performance aircraft at Brussels Airport
The Airbus A330neo is one of the most cost–effective and modern aircraft currently available. This latest generation aircraft will fly for the first time under the colours of a Belgian airline. In addition to being more eco–friendly, these new aircraft will also offer passengers more comfort with a quieter cabin, more space and a state–of–the–art inflight entertainment system.
“We are very pleased that Air Belgium has chosen Brussels Airport to develop its long–haul offer by operating direct flights to Mauritius and Curacao via Punta Cana, tourist destinations that perfectly meet the market served by our airport“, explains Arnaud Feist, CEO Brussels Airport. “By operating these flights with an Airbus A330–900, Air Belgium is also demonstrating its concern for more environmentally friendly aviation, which is also what we stand for in all our projects.”
“We are extremely proud that the new Airbus A330neo is flying under Air Belgium’s colours to Mauritius”, said Wouter Van Wersch, EVP, President of Region & Sales Europe Airbus. “The productivity and flexibility benefits of the A330neo make it the best in its category, most efficient and most comfortable aircraft for Air Belgium’s long–haul network”, he added.
Air Belgium’s relaunch and the demand for pilots
Despite the outbreak, Air Belgium has been able to start up cargo operations and continue some passenger flights as well as repatriation flights. This situation allowed the company not only to avoid laying off any of its staff but even better today, thanks to the very positive outlook for the resumption of all flights, to recruit new pilots for its eight Airbus aircraft: two A330neo, two A340–300 and four A330–200F.
“People still wish to travel, and we have noticed that the number of travel demands has increased over the past few weeks. With our new destinations and our new aircraft, we also think that Belgians will be even more eager to fly. We are confident for the future with the demand picking up and our new offer”, Niky Terzakis, CEO of Air Belgium.
This positive trend is confirmed by the latest report from The International Air Transport Association (IATA) which highlights that by 2022, global demand is expected to reach 61% of pre–crisis levels (2019). Average passenger load factors are expected to recover to 75.1%, a level exceeded every year since 2005 until this crisis occurred, and well below the record 82.6% set in 2019.
Furthermore, strong demand for air freight is expected to continue with demand 7.9% above 2019 levels in 2021 and 13.2% above 2019 levels in 2022. (Source: https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/2021–releases/2021–10–04–01/)