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New airline launches direct route between Antwerp and London City
While it’s as yet unclear what post-Brexit passengers coming from Belgium might have to endure once they arrive in London, at least the flight will be short. The new airline Air Antwerp launched a direct flight from the port city to the London City Airport last week.
Passengers can choose among 16 flights a week heading in either direction, with three flights leaving both airports every weekday and one on Sunday. It is a relaunch of a service that was lost when VLM Airlines declared bankruptcy three years ago.
Much of the former staff of VLM came together to form Air Antwerp, the majority of which is owned by Irish regional airline CityJet. The 25% remainder is owned by Dutch flag carrier KLM. Tickets for the route can be purchased via Air Antwerp or KLM.
The launch of the route was also the launch of Air Antwerp. “I thank our employees, suppliers and partners for all their hard work,” said Johan Maertens, Air Antwerp CEO, at a ceremony in London last week. “Also a sincere thank you to our shareholders, CityJet and KLM, for the confidence they gave us to make this venture possible. Finally, I want to thank our customers for the many enthusiastic responses and encouragements we have received. The important Antwerp-London City route is back and is generating much interest!”
The aircraft making the flight is a 50-seat Fokker turboprop (pictured). According to Air Antwerp, the Dutch have shown as much interest in the route as the Belgians.
“At this point, we do not know what Brexit will bring exactly,” said Antwerp Airport CEO Marcel Buelens, “but trading and doing business with the United Kingdom will not diminish – quite the opposite. We expect that even more people will have to travel to the British capital to sort out certain matters and to make maximum use of the new opportunities that will present themselves.”
This article first appeared in Flanders Today. Photo: Jonas Evrard/Air Antwerp