Antwerp Airport hopes for VLM replacement

Antwerp Flanders International Airport is hoping to find new airlines to take over the connections left by VLM (Antwerp), which has gone into liquidation.

SHS Aviation B.V, the majority shareholder of SHS Antwerp Aviation (VLM), made the decision to dissolve the Belgian airline and to liquidate it at an extraordinary general assembly on 31 August.

The airline, which was based at Antwerp Airport and represented 45% of capacity, has as a result cancelled its Antwerp – London City and Antwerp – Zurich services.

On the announcement, Marcel Buelens, CEO Antwerp and Ostend-Bruges Airports: “We deeply regret this and live with all staff members. We had already taken this into account and we hope quickly find other or existing airlines who want to take over the connections.”

In a statement the airport said: “We regret that the ancient connection between Antwerp and London City will no longer be served, but there are already contacts with other companies to take this route shortly.”

VLM had already reduced its scheduled flight activities earlier in August, cancelling many of its routes from Antwerp, to focus on business charter services and the London City and Zurich routes out of the airport, however activities have now stopped with immediate effect.

Airport management said that the loss of services from VLM will “certainly have an impact” on the number of movements and passengers at the airport, but that these “have already been taken into account.”

While VLM was responsible for 45% of the capacity offered from Antwerp, its share of capacity represented only 17% of the airport’s turnover, according to the statement. The airport is also served by TUI, and has a London Southend connection with flybe (operated by Stobart Air).

The airport said in a statement that in the first seven months of 2018, VLM accounted for more than 43,000 passengers, while airlines TUI fly and flybe have already transported more than 120,000 passengers in 2018.

VLM is made up of three entities including VLM (Slovenia) and VLM (Antwerp). Earlier this year, VLM Airlines (Brussels) was said by Dutch media to have been acquired by a Dutch investment group.

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