Brand new airline startup Air Antwerp has commenced operations today. Flying into London City Airport from the Belgian city of Antwerp, the airlines Fokker 50 touched down at around 07:15 this morning, restarting a route that was abandoned over a year ago by its predecessor, VLM.
Air Antwerp is majority-owned by Irish CityJet, with 25% of the ownership held by Dutch flag carrier KLM. As well as securing the AOC to start this London route, Air Antwerp has also bagged a codeshare arrangement with KLM, making the route even more attractive for onward travelers.
CEO Johan Maertens commented on the route, saying,
“…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 … The important Antwerp – London City route is back and it generates a wide interest!”
Since the demise of VLM last August, Antwerp has been lacking a direct connection to London City. Flybe previously operated a route from London Southend, but stopped the service at the end of August. For business travelers, the City connection is far more convenient than Southend, and should ensure this route’s success between the two cities.
Welcome to London
The airline’s arrival in London came with a welcoming ceremony, attended by Johan Maertens, CEO Air Antwerp and Peter Downes, Aviation Director at London City Airport in addition to other stakeholders.
There were banners. There were smiles. And, of course, there was cake.
Welcome to London City Airport @AirAntwerp! Now flying 16 times a week between #Antwerp and London’s most central airport, operated using the 50-seater @Fokker 50 aircraft. Grab your tickets via https://t.co/1oK4YNqYYw or https://t.co/3zbaCGhfes @Visit_ANTWERP pic.twitter.com/vOeLavpR1d
— London City Airport (@LondonCityAir) September 9, 2019
“Air Antwerp’s new route, up to three times a day, enables quick and convenient travel between Belgium’s second city and central London, reflecting London City Airport’s role as a bridge between major European cities and the UK capital. The Antwerp – London City route has been a valued service over the years, so it’s wonderful to see passengers return, aboard the recognizable Fokker 50 aircraft.”
The route will operate 16 times per week from now on, with departures from Antwerp (ANR) three times on weekdays, at 07:10, 14:15 and 17:35. On Saturdays, just the 17:35 service will operate.
From London City (LCY), departures on weekdays are at 07:45, 14:55 and 18:10, with just the 18:10 flight operating on Sundays. The flights can be booked under Air Antwerp’s flight number, beginning WP, or KLM’s which starts KL.
Flight time is just over an hour, making this the fastest way to get between Antwerp and London for any traveler.
The Fokker F50
Most excitingly, well for this avgeek anyway, is the arrival of the Fokker F50 in London with Air Antwerp. The aircraft registered OO-VLS (an interesting nod to its predecessor) is one of an increasingly rare breed. This particular model is 29.7 years old, and one of only a handful left in operation in Europe.
You can catch a sneak peek inside the Fokker on the video below:
Een kijkje in de Fokker 50 van Air Antwerp. Deze maatschappij heeft vandaag haar eerste lijndienst geopend, van Antwerpen naar Londen. KLM is één van de twee aandeelhouders. pic.twitter.com/AqEP7mCfLW
— Luchtvaartnieuws.nl (@luchtvaart) September 9, 2019
Here at Simple Flying, we’re very keen to grab a seat on board this classic aircraft, and wish Air Antwerp all the best with its brand new route.