The Belgian airline VLM, whose desire to fly to China is well known, intends to offer flights to "several Chinese cities within the next 12 months", said Yves Panneels, the airline’s communications boss.

Currently, the airline, based at Antwerp Airport, has a fleet of six 50-seater F50s. The longest Chinese flights will be to second tier cities (7 – 8 million people) for which an Airbus A330 will be bought.

It remains to be seen which Belgian airport will be used for these flights. The runway at Antwerp is too short to accommodate long-haul aircraft, noted the newspaper. The company has also ruled out Charleroi because the runway there is "not long enough for the optimum aircraft". "We would have to limit the capacity of our aircraft and that we do not want to do”, said Yves Panneels. The choice will be between Ostend, Zaventem and Liège.