With the launch of its new routes between Brussels Airport, Johannesburg and Cape Town, Air Belgium offers business and leisure travellers direct flights to South Africa and thirty-eight destinations in Southern Africa.
Air Belgium restores direct air connections between Belgium and South Africa. From September 14, travellers will take off from Brussels Airport every Wednesday and Sunday at 19:45 – arriving in Johannesburg at 07:15 the next day – with a continuation to Cape Town and arrival at 11:00 (local time at both destinations).
The first flight arrived slightly delayed on 15 September and received the customary water canon salute before the passengers disembarked. The dignitaries were welcomed by a delegation led by Mrs Nomasonto Ndlovu, SA Tourism COO, and representatives from the Belgium embassy. The new ambassador to South Africa, Mr Paul Jansen and CEO of Air Belgium, Niky Terzakis, were amongst the passengers to arrive on the inaugural flight.
“We often talk about ‘Belgitude’ and our motto is ‘Fly Belgian Class’, which consists in giving pleasure and comfort to passengers in all travel classes“, says Niky Terzakis. “And while our travellers appreciate our fun and engaging approach to travel, we also offer them what really matters: a safe and seamless trip, all-inclusive prices including a generous baggage allowance. We also offer travellers an eco-friendly travel option as the Airbus A330neo consumes on average 25% less fuel compared to previous generation aircraft. In terms of comfort, our aircraft offer the best: quieter cabins, adjustable lighting, a state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system and Wi-Fi internet connection throughout the flight”.
South Africa is one of the most important economic markets for Belgium. The reintroduction of these air links, suspended for more than thirty years, is eagerly awaited. About two hundred Belgian companies, large and small, are established or have subsidiaries in South Africa. The air links between these two countries are therefore essential for these companies. They support trade and overall economic development. Belgium is also South Africa’s sixth largest trading partner.
There are on average 60,000 passengers per year departing from Belgium to South Africa, despite the fact that there are no direct flights. This number should easily reach 80,000 by 2024. The new Air Belgium routes will fill this gap. It should also be noted that many Belgians live and work in South Africa.
This launch also marks the beginning of a major partnership between Air Belgium and well-established South African airline, Airlink. Air Belgium will now not only offer tickets to Johannesburg and Cape Town but also to no less than thirty-eight destinations on the African continent via the extensive Airlink network. Sixteen domestic destinations in South Africa and twenty-two destinations in eleven other countries on the continent.
This agreement allows Air Belgium to offer the most direct and fastest connections, departing from Brussels Airport with competitive fares and the lowest CO2 rate.
Destinations offered by Air Belgium via Airlink
South Africa: Durban, Bloemfontein, Kimberley, George, Skukuza, Upington, Hoedspruit, Nelspruit, Port Elizabeth, Pietermaritzburg, Mthatha, Sishen, Polokwane, Richards Bay, Cape Town, East London
Democratic Republic of Congo: Lubumbashi
Tanzania: Dar Es Salaam
Zimbabwe: Harare, Victoria Falls
Namibia: Windhoek, Walvis Bay
Zambia: Lusaka, Ndola, Livingstone
Botswana: Gabarone, Maun, Kasane
Mozambique: Maputo, Vilanculos, Nampula, Pemba, Beira, Tete
Madagascar: Antananarivo, Nosy Be
“The social and economic ties between Belgium and South Africa are historic and well established. The historical link between South Africa and Belgium is important, especially considering the importance of Brussels to the European Union. Air access and connectivity in South Africa have seen a watershed moment caused by the COVID pandemic. Airlink is privileged to have survived this change and capitalised on the opportunities that presented themselves. Our reputation is built on our ability to provide exceptional service, unparalleled reliability, on-time flights and genuine service. Air transport markets are rapidly returning to pre-crisis levels and there is currently an imbalance between demand and supply, so the timing could not be better for Air Belgium to enter the market with Brussels Airport as a central gateway to Europe, and Johannesburg and Cape Town ensuring reciprocity. It is therefore with great pleasure that we enter into this commercial partnership and welcome Air Belgium to South Africa and Airlink’s comprehensive network of destinations in Southern Africa”, said Rodger Foster, CEO of Airlink.
Air Belgium passengers are offered three classes of service on board the company’s A330neos (30 business class seats, 21 premium class seats and 235 economy class seats). These aircraft, equipped with the latest technologies, are the most modern to fly under the Belgian flag. The company promotes, more than ever, Belgium and its know-how through its services and in particular with typical Belgian dishes, the provision of local products on board, its humility, its humour and the hospitality of its staff.
Fares start from under R10000-00 for an all-inclusive return ticket between Brussels Airport and Johannesburg and from R12800-00 between Brussels Airport and Cape Town. All passengers are entitled to a minimum baggage allowance of 30 kg and meals are included from economy class.