Air Belgium’s arrival in South Africa today marks the airline’s first foray into Africa.
South Africans heading to Europe will be able to fly from Cape Town International (with a short stop in Johannesburg) or OR Tambo every Monday and Thursday. The flight offers 30 seats in Business Class, 21 seats in Premium Class and 235 Economy Class seats.
Flights aboard the airline’s modern A330neo will depart Brussels every Wednesday and Sunday at 19:45 – arriving in Johannesburg at 7:15 the next day, with continuation to Cape Town.
The airline in July consolidated its planned service to South Africa to one connection that passes through Johannesburg and then Cape Town.
“It is an exciting and important chapter for Air Belgium,” says CEO Niky Terzakis. “But we’re equally thrilled to introduce South Africans to a new airline and an alternative route – and thereby direct access to the heart of Europe.”
According to Terzakis, Air Belgium is committed to offering passengers an experience that is affordable, comfortable, hassle-free, green, and trustworthy.
“We often talk about ‘Belgitude’, and our motto is ‘Fly Belgian Class’, which is all about bringing joy back to international travel,” says Terzakis. “And while our travellers value our fun and engaging approach to travel, we also deliver what really matters: a safe, seamless journey; transparent billing (no hidden fees); and a generous luggage allowance. What’s more is that we offer travellers an environmentally-friendly travel option as the Airbus A330neo consumes on average 25% less fuel compared to previous generation aircraft. Lower fuel consumption also means less CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. Our aircraft offer what is best in comfort aboard: reduced noise level, mod-lighting, and state-of-the art inflight entertainment with WI-FI and internet connection throughout the flight.”
“Of course, for South Africans the real drawcard is Brussels,” says Terzakis. “Not only is it the gateway to Europe, with high-speed trains connecting the city to hubs like London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam in a couple of hours, but it is also a destination in its own right, with visitors delighting in its rich heritage, food, culture and Belgian spirit.”
The twice-weekly flights are good news for business travellers as Belgium is currently South Africa’s 6th largest trading partner as well as the Western Cape’s 7th largest European export market.
“I welcome Air Belgium’s new triangular route between Brussels, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Whether for leisure travel or business travel, this flight will undoubtedly “contribute to boosting” the country’s tourism, its economy and job creation,” says South African Tourism Chief Operations Officer, Nomasonto Ndlovu.
She added that international arrivals to South Africa are increasing steadily, and each new route and connection should be celebrated.
“We are thrilled to welcome the Air Belgium team, and it’s fitting that their first flight arrives in the middle of September, which is Tourism Month in South Africa, when we celebrate, champion, and recognise the importance of our tourism industry.”
This launch also marks the beginning of a major partnership between Air Belgium and the largest South African company, Air Link. Indeed, 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 Air Link network. Sixteen domestic destinations in South Africa and twenty-two destinations in eleven other countries on the continent.
Air Belgium will have no direct competition on these two destinations, which are already offered on departure from Europe by Air France, KLM, Lufthansa or British Airways, among others.