Belgian regional startup Air Antwerp, which is co-owned by Irish regional CityJet and Dutch flag carrier KLM, has secured its air operator’s certificate (AOC) and will launch Fokker 50 flights to London City Airport Sept. 9.

The Antwerp-headquartered airline was established in May 2019, with CityJet taking a 75% stake and KLM holding the remaining 25%.

On Aug. 9, Air Antwerp CEO Johan Maertens said the company had secured its AOC and operating license.

He added that Air Antwerp will launch 3X-daily weekday flights between Antwerp and London City Sept. 9, with a single weekend frequency on Sundays. Shareholder KLM will codeshare on the new service.

“Business travelers will finally be able to fly again from the center of London to Antwerp. Also, for the Antwerp business world—in particular the diamond industry and the port community—it is good news that there is again a direct link to the London Docklands,” Maertens said.

Antwerp’s catchment area comprises north Belgium and areas of the southern Netherlands.

Air Antwerp announced that it had taken delivery of its first aircraft—a Fokker 50 registered OO-VLS—on July 27. The red- and-white liveried aircraft, which was used to complete the AOC application, will be used to serve niche routes from Antwerp.

“In terms of logo, we have opted for a design that symbolizes a hand. The fingers of which form a wing,” Maertens said.

Maertens is the former CEO of defunct Antwerp-based regional carrier VLM Airlines, which also used to operate Fokker 50s. A number of former VLM employees are now working at Air Antwerp.

Before its collapse, VLM had a small—but dense—network from the city.

Victoria Moores