Air Antwerp, a start-up scheduled carrier backed by capital from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and CityJet, has applied for an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from Belgium's Federal Public Service Mobility and Transport.

The company's representatives staged a presentation on May 20, saying they initially planned to link Antwerp with three destinations including London City and hoped to lure a number of former employees of VLM Airlines (Antwerp), which ceased operations in August 2018, The Brussels Times reported. They did not name the other two destinations.

KLM and CityJet have raised starting capital of EUR61,500 euro (USD68,500), 25% from KLM, 75% from CityJet, to launch regional flights this autumn with a single Fokker 50, the same aircraft type that was used by VLM to fly to destinations in the UK, Switzerland, and Germany.

The two partners want to feed traffic from the southern Netherlands which they cannot reach with their own larger aircraft, a spokesman told the Dutch newspaper HLN. “This is equipment that the two companies do not have. With Air Antwerp, we want to reach niche markets that KLM and CityJet cannot serve themselves.”

"The Antwerp area is not well served at the moment," Yves Paneels, spokesman for Air Antwerp, told ch-aviation in an email. "The Antwerp catchment area also covers the South-West part of the Netherlands next to Rotterdam and Eindhoven. It is a very interesting catchment area and is not covered at all by any mainline carrier as these carriers are concentrated in Brussels."

The airline "is being set up to explore route opportunities from Antwerp and will also offer capacity in the market to fly on behalf of other airlines in a wet lease, block-space or charter model. Air Antwerp will also sell tickets via its website," he added.

A deed of incorporation for the carrier has been published in Moniteur Belge, Belgium's Official Gazette, according to which the directors of the new company are Willem Alexander Hondius, who is a senior advisor for alliance development at KLM, and Johan Maertens, who will be the new carrier's chief executive. Maertens was previously CEO of VLM until it formally disbanded as a company in December 2018.