[Trip report] Air Belgium inaugural flight to South Africa


On Wednesday 14 September 2022, Air Belgium’s first flight to South Africa took off. This was the first non-stop flight between Belgium and South Africa for over two decades. The airline Air Belgium currently connects Brussels to Johannesburg and Cape Town every Wednesday and Sunday (with return flights on Monday and Thursday). Aviation24.be was invited to fly on these historic flights.

Twenty years ago, Belgium and South Africa were connected, by the Brussels – Johannesburg route. In those days, these flights were operated by the then flag carrier Sabena, and after its demise in 2001, by its former subsidiary Sobelair.

Air Belgium has also established a partnership with the South African airline Airlink, offering interline booking to fly to 38 more destinations in southern Africa. This interline agreement allows passengers to book flights with Air Belgium to not just Johannesburg and Cape Town, but to the following other destinations:

Angola: Luanda
Botswana: Gaborone, Maun, Kasane
Democratic Republic of the Congo: Lubumbashi
Lesotho: Maseru
Madagascar: Antananarivo, Nosy Be
Mozambique: Maputo, Vilanculos, Nampula, Pemba, Beira, Tete
Namibia: Windhoek, Walvis Bay
South Africa: Durban, Bloemfontein, Kimberley, George, Skukuza, Upington, Hoedspruit, Nelspruit (Mbombela), Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha), Pietermaritzburg, Mthatha, Sishen, Polokwane, Richards Bay, Cape Town, East London
Tanzania: Dar Es Salaam
Uganda: Entebbe
Zambia: Lusaka, Ndola, Livingstone
Zimbabwe: Harare, Victoria Falls

Air Belgium is not directly competing with the Belgian flag carrier Brussels Airlines, as only two of the above-mentioned destinations are shared with them (Luanda and Entebbe).

The first flights were done by the aeroplane registered OO-ABG, their first Airbus A330-900neo delivered less than a year ago.

Air Belgium KF2305 BRU-JNB

Date: Wednesday 14 September 2022
Flight: KF2305 – BRU-JNB
Aircraft Type: Airbus A330-900neo
Registration: OO-ABG (delivery date 08/10/2021)
Seat: 11G (Premium)
Scheduled / Effective Time of Departure: 19:45 / 21:14 (GMT+2)
Scheduled / Effective Time of Arrival: 7:15 / 8:00 (GMT+2)
Scheduled / Effective Flight Time: 11 hr 30 min / 10 hr 46 min.

Arrival & Check-In

The arrival at Brussels Airport was as always very easy by train and the check-in was a smooth experience.

The Boarding

The boarding was in Terminal B (Non-Schengen) from gate B10, but first I went to the lounge for some food. Because I flew premium I was allowed in the Diamond lounge. This lounge was a bit crowded, but it was fine.

At gate B10 there was an event, because it was the first flight. Each passenger received a pair of Air Belgium magnets and sweet chocolates.

The aircraft

The Air Belgium Airbus A330neo offers 3 comfortable travel classes: BUSINESS (30 pax), PREMIUM (21 pax) and ECONOMY (235 pax). These new-generation aircraft are the latest to operate under the Belgian flag. They provide a superior flying experience in addition to the increased comfort of their cabins. The Airbus A330neo offers many ecological, environmental, and technological advantages.

The departure

Before the take-off, the plane received a water salute from the Brussels Airport fire brigade

After the water salute, we needed to wait for a slot to depart from runway 07L and because all other aeroplanes were landing on runway 25R that caused some delay. In 2022 only 5% of the departures at Brussel Airport took off from 07L.

Our departure from runway 07L on Brussels Airport

The flightpath

After taking off to the east around Leuven we flew south towards, Strasbourg, Lyon, Marseille and over the Mediterranean Sea toward Algeria. Then Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.

The flightpath KF2305

The flight experience

Belgian “Duvel” beer at FL350 onboard Air Belgium
The starter
The main course tastes really good
The dessert was also delicious
The cheese dessert

After dinner, I watched a movie and went to sleep for a few hours. There are up to 120 films available onboard Air Belgium Airbus A330-900neo and they also offer fast Wi-Fi for a good price.

The new ARC map offers all the features of current maps and more: remaining flight time, route, but also information on the country or city overflown, views of the window and cockpit, 3D visualisation, etc.

The distance to Brussels, Pyongyang and Johannesburg in real time, I’m a fan of the new ARC map with a lot of information.
A view of the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 and wing in flight.

Two hours before the landing I received a breakfast (or brekkie in the South African language). I had the choice between an omelette or a waffle.

Breakfast before landing in South Africa

The landing

We landed after 10 hours 46 mins flight in Johannesburg and after the landing, we received another water salute from the fire department at OR Tambo International Airport.

Water salute from the fire department at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA)

Pros and Cons

The food and beverage is the highlight of the Air Belgium flight. There are some good elements of Belgian culture incorporated into the offering.
Wi-Fi is fast and easy.
Crew was very friendly


Aviation24.be wishes to thank Air Belgium for the opportunity to fly its inaugural flight to South Africa.


  1. Lufthansa cancelled our flight back from South Africa in 2020 – booked and paid with our VISA credit card.
    The customer center remains silent despite our numerous emails and no reimbursement or any sign at all…
    I would not like to repeat this experience…


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