VLM Airlines is stepping up a gear: it looks for a new CEO and signed a lease for one long-haul aircraft

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Harm Prins, the founder of SHS Aviation (VLM Airlines) one year and six months ago, is no longer at the helm of the company, senior aviation editor Luk De Wilde today wrote in Travel Magazine. Nobody wanted to give a reason for his (forced) departure but, according to different sources, the Chinese owners could no longer reconcile themselves with the policy pursued as being “too slow, lack of vision and not always diplomatic.

Who will become the new CEO?

Last few days Qiang Cui, the representative of a Chinese investor, has been looking for a new CEO. Possible candidates are: current VLM Airlines COO Carl Runge, director of flight operations David Barma, Jean-Christophe Degen (ex-Director of flight operations at Thomas Cook and CEO of Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium, now Director of flight operations at VLM Airlines) and a few other ex-VLM Airlines managers. Possible candidates for the job react rather hesitantly: the air of mystery surrounding the ownership structure of VLM Airlines (SHS Aviation Netherlands and SHS Antwerp Aviation), of which 60% of the shares are owned by Dutch investors while the rest of the shares are in Chinese hands.

Focus on China

The airline still expects to launch long-haul flights from Brussels to Shenzhen in April 2018 (and later to five other Chinese cities) and has signed an agreement for the lease of one Airbus A330-200. Now that the airline is in possession of the much needed AOC’s (two Belgian and 1 Slovenian) and now that it has a long-haul aircraft, it is clear that the airline strongly focuses on the Chinese market.

Source: Luk De Wilde, Travel Magazine Chinese aandeelhouders VLM Airlines steken tandje bij met ‘grote schoonmaak’

Featured image © Kevin Goolaerts

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