South Africa Once Again Connected To Belgium After 20+ Years

After more than 20 years, flights between Belgium and South Africa have been re-established.

This historic route has finally been restored by none other than Air Belgium, who will fly to not only Johannesburg, but also Cape Town every Wednesday and Sunday.

South Africa is one of the most important economic markets for Belgium. The reintroduction of these air links, previously suspended for over two decades, has been eagerly awaited by both vacationers and businesses.

The History Of The Connection:


Credit: AlainDurand/Avimage on JetPhotos.

Over 20 years ago, Belgium and South Africa were connected, more specifically by the Brussels - Johannesburg route. In those days, these flights were operated by the then flag carrier Sabena, with their flagship Boeing 707s, and later Boeing 747s and Airbus A340s. Even back in those days, this connection was essential for Belgian businesses with locations in and around South Africa, and vice versa.

However, after Sabena ceased operations in November of 2001, this economically important connection was severed, and would not be established again with a regular passenger service.

The Re-establishment:

As of a few days ago, Air Belgium has revived this connection after more than two decades, with a little extra on top. The airline currently connects Brussels to Johannesburg and Cape Town every Wednesday and Sunday (with return flights on Monday and Thursday) with their signature Airbus A330-900neo. The first flights were done by OO-ABG, their first A330-900neo delivered not even a year ago.


Credit: CaptainWil972 on JetPhotos.

The current flight schedule is as followed:

  • Brussels - Johannesburg: KF2305, 19:45 - 07:30 +1 (11h30)

  • Johannesburg - Cape Town: KF2305, 08:45 - 11:00 (2h15)

  • Cape Town - Johannesburg: KF2306, 15:00 - 17:15 (2h15)

  • Johannesburg - Brussels: KF2306, 18:45 - 06:15 +1 (11h30)

The Cherry On Top:

But that’s not the end of it, oh no. Not only has Air Belgium directly connected Belgium back to South Africa, but they have established a partnership with the South African airline Airlink, offering interline booking to fly to a whopping 38 more destinations in and around South Africa.


Credit: Timothy Brandt on JetPhotos.

This interline agreement allows passengers to book flight with Air Belgium to not just Johannesburg and Cape Town, but to the following other destinations:

  • Angola: Luanda
  • Botswana: Gaborone, Maun, Kasane
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo: Lubumbashi
  • Lesotho: Maseru
  • Madagascar: Antananarivo, Nosy Be
  • Mozambique: Maputo, Vilanculos, Nampula, Pemba, Beira, Tete
  • Namibia: Windhoek, Walvis Bay
  • South Africa: Durban, Bloemfontein, Kimberley, George, Skukuza, Upington, Hoedspruit, Nelspruit (Mbombela), Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha), Pietermaritzburg, Mthatha, Sishen, Polokwane, Richards Bay, Cape Town, East London
  • Tanzania: Dar Es Salaam
  • Uganda: Entebbe
  • Zambia: Lusaka, Ndola, Livingstone
  • Zimbabwe: Harare, Victoria Falls

It is also good to note that, even thought they now have many destinations in Africa, Air Belgium is still not directly competing with the Belgian flag carrier Brussels Airlines, as only two of the above mentioned destinations are shared with them.

With the establishment of these routes, and their first partnership with another airline, it is clear Air Belgium is only expanding and they are showing no signs of slowing down. I personally find this very exciting, and I wish to see them grow even more in the coming years.

Other relevant news articles here:

More about Air Belgium here:

More about Airlink here:

I am a bit late with this news, as the first flight was already a few days ago, but I was too busy then. If there’s anything I could add and/or improve, please do let me know!

26 Likes

I was wondering why I was seeing the Air Belgium A330-900 flying to Johannesburg. I am so happy to see this new service! :D

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It certainly is very exciting! I bet a lot of people are happy that this route is back after so long.

Interesting to see that Air Belgium did this before Brussel Airlines. With the Lufthansa Group having quite a few flights to South Africa, it wouldn’t have been difficult operational wise.

@Baba I think you’ll like this ;)

2 Likes

Yeah, I am so happy to see that and actually I would love to go there so that’s also nice to have a direct flight to this wonderful destination. 😍

4 Likes

Brussels Airlines hasn’t really been expanding at all in recent times, both route and aircraft wise. Mostly due to Corona, but I also think Lufthansa doesn’t exactly “care” all that much about them either. Plus Lufthansa themselves have flights to both Johannesburg and Cape Town out of Frankfurt (and Munich).

@Baba had a feeling you’d enjoy this! Definitely a beautiful place.

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Yeah I’ve noticed this. If anything their fleet has been getting smaller.

Yeah same with SWISS / Edelweiss from Zürich

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I think they’ve been staying somewhat steady at around 40 aircraft now.

in 2019 they took some “new” A330-300s into their fleet and an A320 that was supposed to go to Eurowings. But during 2020 and 2021 they got rid of a whole lot of A319s, their last A330-200s and some A330-300s that were sent to Eurowings.

The latest development is an A320 delivered just over a month ago, but it wasn’t exactly new either, being 13,5 years old.

But in the coming months another two aircraft are (from what I know) scheduled to leave the fleet (including the oldest aircraft, OO-SNA), with three A320neos being delivered in the summer of 2023, if those plans haven’t changed.

Ah yes, forgot about them.

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