Brussels rail station is 'like Kosovo,' says Antwerp Airport CEO

Brussels rail station is 'like Kosovo,' says Antwerp Airport CEO
Check-In and passport control at the Eurostar station Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A new single-flight airline will help London-bound passengers avoid passing through Brussels' busy Gare du Midi, which Antwerp Airport's CEO said looked like it was in Kosovo, not Belgium.

At the inaugural flight of Air Antwerp, now Belgium's smallest airline, Marcel Buelens said the airline targetted business travellers seeking to avoid a long and cumbersome trip through Belgium's busiest rail station.

Referring to the rail trip from Antwerp to London, Buelens said that while Antwerp had a nice rail station, "when you arrive in Bruxelles Midi, it looks more like Kosovo than Brussels capital city" according to HLN.

"It will be a thing of the past to have to stop in Lille or Brussels," when travelling to London, Buelens told the outlet.

The new airline will start out with fifteen employees operating three return flights weekly and one on Sunday with the single aircraft.

Airline CEO Johan Maertens, the former head of the bankrupt VLM airline, said the company will focus on making the London route profitable before thinking of new destinations.

"It is not our intention to compete, but to serve a small niche adequately," he told HLN.

Maertens said that he was satisfied with the airline's filling rate of about 60% for the remainder of the day, adding that he was glad they were able to start operating before Brexit.

"If we had not succeeded, we risked having to negotiate traffic rights to a third country," he told the outlet.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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