European regional carrier, VLM Airlines, has launched a direct service from Birmingham to the thriving commercial and tourist centre of Antwerp in Belgium.
The inaugural flight was greeted with a water arch salute whilst VIP passengers were greeted by the Belgium ambassador to the United Kingdom, Guy Trouveroy.
Trouveroy showed further support for the new service during an exchange of gifts between Antwerp-based goldsmith, Wim Meeussen, and Birmingham-based jewellery designer, Alice Stewart.
The gifts represent the strong business synergies between these two cities in industries including jewellery, fashion, automotive and chemicals.
Steve Blair, chief operating officer of VLM Airlines, says: “This new route not only serves many businesses in the area, but is also ideal for travellers looking for a city break.
“Antwerp is a magnificent place, home to one of Europe’s oldest and richest ports, with a bold and diverse arts, fashion and culinary scene.
“A short train ride takes you to other popular Belgian cities including Bruges, Ghent and Brussels.”
Flights between Birmingham and Antwerp will operate three times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
VLM Airlines also provides scheduled services to seven other destinations in five countries, including Geneva, Hamburg, Southampton, Waterford and London Luton.