By Charlotte Seet
Air Belgium Replacing A340s With Delivery Of Its First A330neo
In July this year July, Air Belgium announced its decided agreement with Airbus on the order of two brand-new A330neo aircraft, with the first flight scheduled around mid-October.
The Belgian carrier has been operating with an all-Airbus widebody fleet that includes the A340-300 and the A330-200F.
As part of its fleet modernization strategy, Air Belgium plans to have the A330neo eventually replace the A340s due to the quad-jet’s fuel inefficiency that would lead to higher overall operating costs.
Aside from the fact that Air Belgium seems partial to Toulouse-based manufacturing Airbus, but with an order book of more than 1,800 aircraft from over 120 airline customers as of September 2021, the A330 retains the top spot as the most popular wide-body family aircraft thus far.
Thus, it would make sense that the Belgian carrier is keen on the new generation of the A330 given its improved economics, versatility and reliability of the A330 family.
Expressing delight in Air Belgium’s agreement with Airbus, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International, Christian Scherer said: “We are glad that Air Belgium recognizes the productivity and flexibility advantages of the A330neo, setting it up as the best-in-class and most cost-effective aircraft for the airline’s long-haul network.”
On Friday (Oct 8), Airbus has managed to deliver the first of two Airbus A330neo aircraft to the full-service international carrier.
Registered as OO-ABG, the new aircraft was initially set to be manufactured for Air Berlin before the airline fell short and collapsed.
For the benefit of Air Belgium, the A330neo’s latest technologies will result in not only cost-effective solutions but eco-efficient as well without compromising on passenger comfort.
Operating on solely two engines instead of its predecessors’ four, the A330neo uses much less fuel and emits out lower emissions as well.
And similar to the airline’s A340s, the A330neo aircraft will also have a three-cabin configuration with 30 seats in Business Class, followed by 21 seats in Premium Economy and the remaining 235 seats for Economy Class.
In total, the passenger capacity of the A330neo is 286 which will definitely benefit Air Belgium financially as well as it remains devoted to long-haul and direct intercontinental flights from Belgium.
“Air Belgium is very happy and proud to present these new aircraft in Belgium. They are the most modern aircraft that will operate under the Belgian flag. We are very pleased by our experience operating the Airbus A340s, demonstrating reliability, comfort and performance. With the A330neos customers will directly benefit from even greater comfort and superior service on board, while reducing our environmental impact by 25%.” said Niky Terzakis, CEO of Air Belgium in a press release.
Passengers of Air Belgium will not have to wait long to fly on the newest addition to the fleet, as it will be introduced on a new route between Belgium and Mauritius on October 15.
Scheduled on a frequency of twice a week, the new aircraft is set to fly on Tuesdays and Fridays. Should the new route see progress, the airline might increase the frequencies especially when the second aircraft is delivered.
Not far from now, the second aircraft is planned to enter service by as early as the end of November, aiding the airline in reinforcing its winter destination schedule when air travel demands increase.