Air Belgium has announced that it will soon enter into the cargo business with four A330-200 freighter aircraft.
The airline has also said it has ambitions to grow this figure to six freighters in total by the end of 2021.
While it has not been confirmed, rumors suggest the initial four incoming aircraft may be ex-Qatar Airways A330s, which were recently removed from the Doha-based airline’s fleet.
These first two freighter aircraft are expected to be operational as a part of Air Belgium by the end of March 2021.
The first of the two will be based at Liege Airport, according to the airline.
“In such an uncertain period, this is good news for the airline. We are delighted to be able to begin this diversification into the commercial and cargo sector, which my team and I know well,” said Air Belgium CEO Niky Terzakis.
“This will complement our existing passenger business, which has been severely impacted by the current travel restrictions. This demonstrates once again the resilience and flexibility of our airline’s development potential. As well as the ever-growing attractiveness of Liege Airport.”
According to internal sources cited by The Loadstar, Air Belgium will operate two of its four incoming A330-200(F)s under a CMI agreement with French shipping giant CMA CGM, which has reportedly set up a subsidiary to own the dedicated freighters.
These internal sources reportedly told The Loadstar that at least two of the A330 aircraft have been acquired by CMA CGM from Qatar Airways, and will subsequently be dry-leased to Air Belgium to operate on behalf of their firm.
Qatar Airways’ cargo division announced on Tuesday that it had officially retired all of its remaining A330-200 freighters in favour of the Boeing 777 freighters it took delivery of in January.
The retirement was long planned by the Doha-based airline, and was in fact delayed by two months due to the delayed delivery of its 777Fs.
Additional reporting by Airlinerwatch.