DALLAS – Air Belgium (KF) has announced that it is looking for a new investor for its business after posting heavy losses.
The scheduled and charter carrier based at Brussels Airport (BRU) posted a full-year loss for 2022 of €44.6m (US$49m), blaming increases in expenses such as staff wages and fuel. FK now has cumulative losses of almost €92m (US$100m).
Air Belgium, which celebrated its fifth anniversary in June, had a capital injection in February 2022. Shareholders also granted loans of €7m to the airline in December. According to the news media L-Post, a new investor has made a firm offer to inject a maximum of €14.4m and acquire a 49% stake. However, this offer is subject to the agreement of a new strategy for the carrier and approval from the relevant authorities.
Recently KF dropped unprofitable routes to the Caribbean, including Guadeloupe, Martinique, Punta Cana and Curaçao. Management believes that the carrier can return to profitability by Q3 2023 by focusing on passenger, cargo and ACMI operations. It is also planning on introducing new flights to the United States and Asia, although specific destinations are yet to be disclosed.
The airline currently operates a fleet of two Airbus A330-900s and two A330-200s. The latter’s introduction was delayed by six months leading to the late retirement of its Airbus A340-300s.
A pair of Airbus A330-200 converted freighters, and three Boeing 747-8Fs have been introduced to diversify the business into cargo transportation. Wet-lease operations are offered to CMA-CGM and the Chinese group Hongyuan. However, delays with the introduction of these aircraft also impacted its profits.
Between July 1 and October 28, the airline will operate flights from London Heathrow (LHR) to Chicago (ORD) on behalf of British Airways (BA). One of KF’s Airbus A330-900s has been wet-leased to the UK carrier, replacing the usual Boeing 777-300ER on the route.
Air Belgium OO-ABF Airbus A330-900 PUJ MDPC. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways.