Air Belgium will resume its flights to Curaçao on 15 December, but with three big changes. Instead of Charleroi, the flights will depart from Brussels. They will be operated with the new Airbus A330-900neo instead of the A340-300. And they will be in combination with Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) instead of Fort-de-France (Martinique).
Air Belgium started scheduled service from Brussels South Charleroi Airport to Curaçao in July, with a stopover in Martinique. On 21 August, the route was suspended due to a lockdown in Martinique. From Charleroi, Air Belgium intended to resume flights to Martinique and Guadeloupe on 23 October with Airbus A340 aircraft.
However, Anne-Catherine Paul, Air Belgium’s Director Corporate & Regulatory Affairs, told Aviation24.be that “the sanitary situation in the French Antilles is not improving. The level of vaccination of the population is still too low and does not bode well for rapid improvement. Air Belgium will not resume its flights over the French West Indies before the situation has clearly improved and a guarantee of stability on the spot. Travellers need visibility and a minimum of insurance”.
Anne-Catherine Paul added that “Curaçao was served by an add-on to our regular flights via Martinique. Conversely, the pandemic in Curaçao is under control and has a high vaccination rate. There are no local constraints such as curfews, etc. Therefore, and in order to transport our passengers to Curaçao, we will transit through the Dominican Republic.”
The triangular flights from Brussels Airport to Punta Cana and Curaçao are planned twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays until the end of March. Departure from Brussels at 10:00, with arrival at 14:25 in Punta Cana. Depature from Punta Cana at 15:40 with arrival in Curaçao at 17:10. And return flight to Brussels departing from Curaçao at 18:40 to arrive the next day at 10:00 in the Belgian capital.
There will be 286 seats on board that aircraft, divided into Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class. On flights to Curaçao, the Belgian airline works together with tour operator Corendon, which can thus offer an alternative to KLM flights from Schiphol.
Air Belgium also schedules flights from Brussels Airport to Mauritius from 15 October, with the A330neo as well.
Air Belgium operations at Brussels South Charleroi
Anne-Catherine Paul clarified the relation with Charleroi Airport: “Air Belgium will resume its operations from Charleroi as soon as the situation in the Antilles is stabilised and allows it, and as we will have the assurances of the Antillean authorities. We can no longer afford to pick up and face more untimely shutdowns. These ‘suspensions/resumptions’ are damaging for our travelling customers and very penalising for our Company. All this in no way calls into question our operations from Charleroi, with which we are very satisfied from an operational point of view. The upcoming opening of the extended runway will also allow us to make the best use of our new A330NEOs from Charleroi.“