On 16 March, Air Belgium announced to Belgium press agency Belga it would organise repatriation flights “to pre-empt a flight ban” due to COVID-19. It concerns more than 600 travellers in the French Antilles.
Air Belgium CEO Niky Terzakis announced to Belga in the afternoon that the airline would organise additional flights for travellers in the French Antilles.
These additional flights concern 625 passengers in both Martinique and Guadeloupe and are organised to pre-empt of a possible “flight ban” to come due to the fast spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. These are to be organised, already one is planned, on Thursday, while the second one, on Friday, is to be confirmed, on the same schedule.
“We don’t want to let any tourist without solutions. Furthermore, hotels there are closing their doors. We hope to get everybody back by Monday.”
In a statement, Air Belgium said that passengers who booked between the 18th of March and 30th of April are urged to postpone their travel from Belgium at a later date, as flights will have to be suspended from 21 March, to resume when the situation will be suitable.
Niky Terzakis expects Air Belgium not to fly for 6 to 8 weeks. “A rescue loan from the authorities will be needed, as it is the case with Brussels Airlines and a few other airlines”, he added.
Air Belgium employs 350 people and will request to access to the economic temporary unemployment.
In addition, the Belgian airline organises repatriation flights from Punta Cana to Paris Charles-de-Gaulle on 17 March for French tourists.