In a statement, the airline said external events, socio-economic and geopolitical instability as the reason for the Board of Directors to review Air Belgium’s development strategy.
It said the Covid pandemic was the first event to weaken Air Belgium’s financial situation, causing revenue to dry up while fixed expenditure remained unchanged as the fleet was grounded.
As recovery got underway in 2022, the war in Ukraine increased fuel prices and inflation that followed rising energy costs reduced consumer purchasing power.
Services to price-sensitive destinations such as the Caribbean and the French West Indies were cancelled and as of April 2023, activities were concentrated on South Africa and Mauritius.
Capacity on the other aircraft was allocated to charter and ACMI activities.
Air Belgium forecasted a return to profitability in autumn 2023 but the financial difficulties of the past combined with the current environment meant the airline’s strategy had to change, according to the statement.
The board decided to focus on cargo and leasing aircraft while discontinuing the passenger business and to initiate a judicial reorganisation to sort out its finances.
Flights scheduled until 3 October will operate as normal and flights after that date will be cancelled with passengers being reimbursed.
The statement says, “Air Belgium is deeply sorry to announce the discontinuation of its passenger business at such short notice. All options for maintaining this activity or continuing flights after 3 October were examined, but the financial situation did not allow this.”