Air Belgium has finally commenced sales for its first route – Brussels South Charleroi to Hong Kong international airport.
The airline will use an Airbus A340-300 on the route
Seating is pretty standard for an A340, with:
- Business Class in 2-2-1/1-2-2 formation (5 across formation), 79” seat pitch, 21.5″ width
- Premium Economy in a 2-3-2 formation (7 across formation), 36″ seat pitch
- Economy in a 2-4-2 (8 across formation), 31″ seat pitch, 18″ width
Lead-in prices are aggressive, with Economy starting at €449 return, Premium Economy at €999 and Business €1,799.
There are still plenty of questions in the Air Belgium strategy – launching with twp aircraft on a long haul destination, and with a comparatively less fuel-efficient aircraft (the A340-300 – ex Finnair). It should be noted the plane has been flying for Suriname Airways (in the Air Belgium configuration) – so the airline should be dealing with a known quantity when they fly the type under their own flag.
And it will be going nearly head to head with Cathay Pacific who have launched a direct Brussels National (Zaventem) to Hong Kong service recently with an Airbus A350 featuring their latest products.
Whilst the intention to link Belgium to Asia is a great idea – the question is if there is enough feed to fill these seats. Add the combined threat of Cathay Pacific and Hainan Airlines already at Brussels National, Air Belgium will have to compete on price initially – in the hope that the initial prices are enough to fill the seats (especially as the planes will payload restricted from Brussels-Charleroi – which in itself is an interesting decision).
Whilst the airline is planning to announce six new routes in May, it should be one to keep an eye on.
If you want to try Air Belgium, seats are available to book at https://www.airbelgium.com/
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