Air Belgium has decided to cease its scheduled passenger operations effective October 3, 2023, and has filed for court-supervised reorganization.
The airline has operated flights on behalf of other airlines (wet lease), and they will continue these operations and cargo flights.
You can access Air Belgium here.
The airline will operate scheduled flights to South Africa and Mauritius until October 2, 2023, and will rebook passengers on other airlines for their return sectors past that date. If passengers have not started their trips by October 3, they can expect to see a refund.
An Excerpt from Aviation24 (access here):
Faced with a more than unstable socio-economic and geopolitical environment and in view of the fact that an airline has to plan for cycles of 3 to 5 years, Air Belgium’s Board of Directors has taken a number of decisions to ensure the long-term viability and growth of the company which has a staff of 500 people, namely to:
1. Concentrate on the two profitable lines of business that offer growth prospects: The activities of cargo and ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance, or wet lease), i.e. the leasing of aircraft between airlines for passenger and cargo flights, constitute two profitable lines of business with growth prospects.
2. Discontinue the scheduled Passenger business: despite the many investments by Air Belgium in recent years and the strengthening of commercial initiatives, the Passenger business is still unprofitable. After numerous studies, Air Belgium’s Board of Directors reached the conclusion that turning a profit on this front would require substantial investments in addition to those already made in recent years, which has not been possible.
3. Initiate judicial reorganisation proceedings by way of amicable agreement to ensure the company’s long-term viability and growth and to give it time to reorganise internally around these two segments.
You may have seen Air Berlin planes in airports where they don’t have scheduled flights or ended up on flights they have operated on behalf of others, such as British Airways.
It is interesting to see if they can pull through the reorganization because the wet lease market won’t stay hot forever (many network carriers have been short on staff and planes after the pandemic), and there are established cargo airlines.