16 SEPTEMBER 2019
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The Fokker 50 maybe an old aeroplane. The twin-engined turboprop first flew (as the F27) in 1958. It still offers a very comfortable ride, with a tidy cabin offering good legroom, a firm table and decent size overhead bins for up to 52 passengers.
Of the 794 built (F27=586, F50=208) some 88 are thought still to remain in airline and military service, the latest user new Belgium airline Air Antwerp, a single-plane operation between the Belgium port city and London City Airport (LCY).
The carrier, partly owned by KLM and CityJet, started flying last Monday (9 September) with a three times week-daily service, plus single return flights on Saturday morning and Sunday evening. Flight time is 50min and clients are offered tea/coffee, gin, beer and soft drinks plus Flemish biscuits.
Speaking at a press conference to introduce the route, Johan Maertens, CEO, and formerly with Lufthansa, said: “In the past few months, a small team has worked extremely hard to obtain the Air Operator Certificate.
"Exactly one month ago – a bit faster than we had expected – our AOC landed in my mailbox. The important Antwerp – London City route is back and it generates a wide interest!”
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Michael Bartlett, Sandy Bedfordshire UK
With what joy it was, along with a few other aircraft enthusiasts among the business men and women passengers, to fly aboard the Fokker 50 OO-VLS of AIR ANTWERP. The flight was from London City Airport last Monday afternoon 55 minutes to Antwerp. The On- board service was welcoming. The souvenir wallet, bag and label will join my air travel library cum museum. What a thrill to hear the whine and feel the throb of the engines. The small capacity of the plane brought a return of the comradely amongst passengers, somewhat lost aboard the large jet aircraft operating today on most routes. It was sad to see that many On Board Safety Cards had been taken. 15 on one flight according to the Cabin Crew. Not guilty! I must treat myself to another day out with Air Antwerp. Thank you Air Antwerp.