Belgian start-up Air Antwerp took-off from London City Airport (LCY) for Antwerp today, marking the inaugural flight for the airline.
The carrier will fly 16 times a week between the two airports with three flights a day from Monday to Friday and one service on a Sunday, utilising a 50 seat Fokker 50 turboprop.
Air Antwerp and KLM have signed a codeshare agreement. KLM owns 25 per cent of the carrier.
Air Antwerp CEO, Johan Maertens said: “In the past few months, a small team has worked extremely hard to obtain the Air Operator Certificate. Exactly one month ago – a bit faster than we had expected – our AOC landed in my mailbox.
“Since then it has been all hands-on deck to have commercial and operational details ready in time. I thank all our employees, suppliers and partners because of the hard work that they have accomplished. Also a sincere thank you to our shareholders, CityJet and KLM, for the confidence they gave us to make this venture possible.”
Antwerp Airport CEO, Marcel Buelens said this “iconic route” will appeal to many business men and women. He added: “At this point, we do not yet know for sure what the Brexit will bring exactly, but the fact is that trading and doing business with the United Kingdom will not diminish, quite the contrary.
“We expect that even more people will have to travel to the British capital in order to sort out certain matters and to make maximum use of the new opportunities that will present themselves.”
LCY aviation director Peter Downes said the new route “enables quick and convenient travel” between Belgium’s second city and central London.
Air Antwerp is co-owned by the Irish regional CityJet (75 per cent) and Dutch flag carrier KLM (25 per cent).