Air Belgium launches direct flights from Brussels to South Africa
Direct flights from Brussels to South Africa have resumed this week for the first time in more than 30 years.
Air Belgium launched the new twice-weekly route, from Brussels Airport to Johannesburg and Cape Town, on Wednesday.
Until now, passengers in Belgium wanting to reach South Africa had to first travel to Frankfurt, Amsterdam or Zurich or London for a direct flight.
"Belgium is South Africa's sixth trading partner," said Air Belgium chief executive Niky Terzakis. "Almost 200 Belgian companies have branches there and many Belgians also live or work there. This latest development is important to us."
According to the airline, 60,000 people travel between Brussels and South Africa every year. It hopes that the new direct flights will increase that figure to 80,000.
Through a partnership with South African airline Air Link, onward connections to 16 other South African destinations will also be offered, and 22 other African destinations including Congo, Tanzania and Madagascar.
Air Belgium is also in talks with other European airlines to offer through tickets, combining the Brussels-South Africa route with onward connections to other northern European cities.
Flights to Johannesburg and Cape Town depart from Brussels Airport on Wednesday and Sunday evenings, arriving the following morning. Return flights are on Mondays and Thursdays, again landing the morning after.
Ticket prices begin at €553 for Johannesburg and €722 for Cape Town.