Air Belgium (KF, Brussels Charleroi) has announced that it has officially chosen Brussels Charleroi Airport as its home base. In a joint communique, the start-up carrier said it had chosen Charleroi ("Brussels South") over Brussels National due to what it said was its convenient accessibility, efficient quality of service, competitive costs and commitment to expand into a larger international airport.

“Brussels South convinced us due to its very successful development and commitment to major investments and improvements of its infrastructures," Airline CEO Niky Terzakis said. “The airport is well established and attracts millions of travelers among which 60% are international passengers and 31% are business travelers. We are convinced that our passengers will benefit from a great service, especially because Brussels South is starting to adjust its current infrastructure.”

Air Belgium expects to complete its certification in time for a March 2018 launch of non-stop flights to Hong Kong Int'l. As previously reported, the start-up has leased four ex-Finnair A340-300 from Finnair Aircraft Finance, the first of which is due to arrive in the middle of this month.

As such, to accommodate Air Belgium's widebody and intercontinental operations, Charleroi has committed to redeveloping its current Terminal Sud (Executive Aviation Terminal) into a Premium terminal so as to meet the needs of business and premium class travellers.

Construction will start at the end of May and take a year to be completed. In the interim, temporary measures will be put in place to ensure passengers' comfort early on.

While not included in the official press release, Flemish public broadcaster VRT said the airport has also committed to extending its runway 07/25 by 700 metres to 3,200metres so as to accommodate the A340s. Neither the airline nor the airport commented on the report.