Mauritius Service to Begin in Late 2020
Brussels-based airline Air Belgium revealed its plans to begin twice-weekly flights to the picturesque island nation of Mauritius, hoping to capitalize on the fast resurgence of leisure travelers. According to the airline, which operates the Airbus A340-300, service to Port Louis, Mauritius, has been confirmed to begin in December 2020, just in time for the holiday rush. Air Belgium plans to fly twice weekly between Brussels and Port Louis; however, for these flights, the airline will not utilize the Charleroi Airport (CRS), south of Brussels. Instead, AB has resolved to begin service to Mauritius from Brussels's main airport (BRU). Their Caribbean flights to Guadeloupe and Martinique will continue to depart from CRS, however.
Air Belgium Considers U.S. Service
Furthermore, the airline has also disclosed plans to look into potential U.S. flights. According to AeroNewsX, "Air Belgium has previously shown interest in flying to Miami, so this destination could be considered highly likely." Being high on the carrier's radar, Miami makes perfect sense and fits well with the airline's current route network which comprises of only leisure routes. However, according to SimpleFlying, Air Belgium will only fly routes not currently served by Brussels Airlines. With Brussels Airlines on retreat due to the coronavirus, now could be the perfect time for Air Belgium to look into launching flights to various American destinations.
Which destinations could be on the cards for service?
Limiting possible destinations to:
- Not currently being served by Brussels Airlines, and...
- Being leisure oriented,
Possible U.S. destinations may include:
- as stated earlier, Miami is already high on the carrier's radar and has high leisure demand from Europe
- and for that matter too, Tampa/Fort Lauderdale/Orlando might also work out for the carrier.
- New York
- Yes, Brussels Airlines already serves New York-JFK. However, New York is such a large/important market that undoubtedly, Air Belgium may try to break into it.
- Las Vegas
- the gambling hub of America, or "Sin City," attracts many European passengers and already has flights on British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Condor, Eurowings, and many other airlines to Europe. This might be a prime destination for Air Belgium, and they might be able to capitalize on demand for CES, which occurs every January in Las Vegas and brings high-profile business travelers to the region.
- San Francisco/Los Angeles
- service from the West Coast to Belgium is sorely needed. Despite Brussels Airlines not flying to SFO or LAX, both cities have large European leisure draw.
- San Diego
- this Southern-Californian city is well-known for its warm weather and coastline. Lufthansa and Edelweiss Air already fly into San Diego with scheduled A340 service, along with British Airways's 747 service. Air Belgium might be able to grow this market, but it is still undoubtedly smaller than many others on this list.
- What if Air Belgium began a service to Honolulu? Hawaii has no shortage of tourists, and is known to be quite popular with German travelers. Air Belgium may even study Honolulu service due to the large amounts of connecting traffic from the rest of Europe. Undoubtedly, this would be far-fetched, but it does successfully meet both the preconditions.
Air Belgium's Future
Air Belgium has shown itself to take quick action in drastic times. By surveying the steady resurgence in leisure passenger traffic, the airline has announced twice-weekly Mauritius flights scheduled to begin in December 2020. The airline is also reportedly looking into U.S. service, with a focus on leisure destinations. This proves Air Belgium to distance itself from its previous work in the wet-lease/charter/ACMI world, instead foraying into the more traditional world of operating scheduled flights for itself. By announcing a new twice-weekly service to Mauritius scheduled to take off in December 2020, Air Belgium is slowly but steadily expanding into the Belgian leisure market. The airline may even seek to establish itself as the premier Belgian airline, although currently, the airline is much more leisure-focused than business-focused. However, a jump into this market might give this tiny Belgian airline the strength to go after the unwieldy flag-carrier Brussels Airlines and eventually usurp the carrier's position as Belgium's airline.
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