Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL)-based Air Belgium has announced on Friday that it plans to resume Caribbean flights with an additional destination starting July 2, 2021. Since the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, Belgium and other governments have implemented travel restrictions and quarantines that are ever-evolving. With this in mind, a clear and long-term plan is difficult when it comes to route planning.
Given the current circumstances, Air Belgium has decided to anticipate the future for air travel and resume its flight to the Caribbean for the 2021 summer. This summer Air Belgium has partnered with Air Caraïbes to offer Brussels flights to Curaçao International Airport (CUR) starting July 3, 2021.
The EU Vaccination Certificate
In a statement released April 2, 2021, Air Belgium says that the aviation industry as a whole still does not know what the future will hold and, just like everyone else, is compelled to follow day-to-day developments. After much thinking and deliberation by Air Belgium executives, the decision was made to resume flights to the Caribbean starting July 2, 2021.
When speaking about its decision in the statement, Air Belgium CEO Niky Terzakis said:
“We prefer to choose wisdom since, on the Belgian side, the requirement to present essential reasons for traveling has already been extended twice since the beginning of this year 2021. Also, Martinique has just been reclassified as a red zone by Belgium and joins Guadeloupe, which has also been a red zone for a few weeks. At the same time, the French government still imposes compelling reasons to travel to Guadeloupe and Martinique. According to information received and collected from local stakeholders, these compelling travel conditions are not expected to be lifted for several weeks.”
With both Martinique and the Islands of Guadeloupe being a part of the European Union, Air Belgium expects that the implementation of the European Vaccination Certificate will allow quarantine-free travel throughout the bloc.
Curaçao flights require a stopover
To provide flexibility to its passengers who may need to reschedule flights, Air Belgium has confirmed that flights to Fort-de-France during September and October 2021 with continuous flights to the French island of Martinique. Flights to Guadeloupe will resume on July 2 and operate continuously except for September 1 to October 15, 2021. The new route to Curaçao will operate via a stop at Martinique Aimé Césaire International Airport (FDF).
After having launched flights to the French Antilles in December 2019, it seemed like a logical step given Belgium and the Netherlands Flemish and Dutch speaking citizens to offer flights from Belgium to the Netherlands Antilles.
Flights to Curaçao are now available for booking for journeys commencing July 3, 2021, and will require a stopover at FDF. Passengers traveling on to Curaçao will remain onboard the aircraft while Martinique passengers deplane. The aircraft will then take off again for the one-hour 30-minute flight to Curaçao.
When speaking in the statement about the new Curaçao flight Air Belgium CEO Niky Terzakis said:
“Although the current crisis is affecting us terribly, we remain committed to resuming and expanding our operations. We have taken advantage of the last few weeks to work on developing new destinations as well as increasing our fleet through the successful launch of cargo operations to complement our core business. It is with great pleasure that we offer our passengers the opportunity to fly to the beautiful island of Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles from July onwards.”
Air Belgium flies for CMA CGM AIR CARGO
The cargo operations mentioned above are on behalf of French global logistics company CMA CGM AIR CARGO. Air Belgium operates four Airbus A330-200F aircraft on routes between Liège Airport (LGG) and the United States.
Besides the four cargo aircraft that arrived from Qatar Airways Cargo, aviation enthusiast website Planespotters.net lists Air Belgium’s fleet as having the following aircraft:
- 4 x Airbus A330-200s
- 3 x Airbus A340-300s
What do you think about Air Belgiums’ new route to Curaçao? Please tell us what you think in the comments.