The airline Air Antwerp is shutting down its operations, it announced late Friday. The company, known for its route between Antwerp and London City, has not survived the consequences of the health crisis. The Belgian airport is looking for a new company to provide this connection.
Air Antwerp has hardly made any flights between the two cities since March 2020 and the start of the coronavirus crisis. Only a few flights to London City Airport were operated last autumn.
Tourism is slowly picking up, but forecasts for business travel, the core business of the company, are not positive.
“The board of directors of Air Antwerp has therefore decided to completely halt the operational activities of the regional carrier and dissolve the company,” spokesman Yves Panneels said in a written statement.
The contracts of the nine employees, who were mostly on temporary unemployment during the crisis, were terminated.
Air Antwerp was founded in 2019 by the Irish CityJet (75%) and the Dutch KLM (25%) on the ashes of bankrupt VLM Airlines. KLM in the meantime become the sole shareholder when Cityjet was itself in financial trouble. The first flights, operated by a single Fokker 50 (registration OO-VLS, leased from Swedish airline Amapola Flyg), between Antwerp Airport and London City Airport were launched in September of the same year.
“The first six months went very well, and until the start of the corona period, the airline was perfectly in line with the business plan,” explained Yves Panneels.
But when the crisis erupted in all its intensity in March 2020, Air Antwerp also had to stop flying. Flights resumed in September, but the second wave ended scheduled flights a few weeks later.
“The very limited number of current bookings will be refunded and contracts with all suppliers will be terminated by mutual agreement,” said Panneels.
For its part, the Antwerp airport will look for a new airline to ensure the connection to London City Airport, insisting on the importance of this route, in particular. for businessmen. So now only TUI fly Belgium remains as a carrier at Antwerp airport.
— Air Antwerp (@AirAntwerp) June 11, 2021