All Nippon Airways (ANA) has started a daily service between Tokyo and Brussels – the first direct connection between the two countries in 15 years.
The connection is expected to generate more than 100 new direct jobs in and around Brussels Airport, and many more indirect jobs in the air cargo industry. The service will offer both Belgian and Japanese companies new opportunities for investment and export.
ANA will use a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which was given a reception with an escort in formation of the airside inspection and water salute today, when the inaugural flight landed at Brussels Airport.
An official ceremony was attended by Belgian deputy prime minister, Kris Peeters and transport minister Jacqueline Galant, the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of ANA Holdings, Shinya Katanozaka, and the CEO of Brussels Airport Arnaud Feist.
“Brussels Airport is honoured to be able to welcome such a prestigious airline as ANA. Both our companies share the values of customer intimacy, perfection and service. The direct flight creates hundreds of new direct and indirect jobs in and around our airport, stimulates tourism between both our countries, and gives Belgian companies an important new transport link for Belgian export goods such as chocolate and pharmaceutical products”, said Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport.
“This new, unique direct service between Japan and Belgium plays an important role in ANA’s strategy to develop an extensive international network of destinations,” says Shinya Katanozaka, chairman and CEO of ANA Holdings.
The arrival of ANA is the result of lengthy negotiations between the two countries. The support of the federal and regional authorities proved crucial; the Belgian economic missions in Japan in 2012 and 2015 in particular contributed to ANA’s decision to include Brussels Airport in their expansive international network.
“This new direct flight between Belgium and Japan will further strengthen the links between our two economies following 150 years of diplomatic relationships. It also creates an important economic opportunity for both Belgian and Japanese companies.
“This is an additional lever for attracting Japanese investments. Furthermore, it will also encourage many Japanese and Belgians to visit each other’s countries and get to know the culture,” says Peeters.
There are more than 240 Japanese companies in Belgium.