Belgian start-up carrier Air Antwerp has formally started operations on the route to London City, on which it plans to operate 16 times weekly.

Air Antwerp is using Fokker 50 turboprops on the sector.

The start-up airline is majority-owned by Ireland's CityJet with Dutch flag-carrier KLM holding a 25% balance.

KLM has entered a commercial partnership with the new carrier to codeshare on the Antwerp-London City route.

Air Antwerp chief executive Johan Maertens says the airline's personnel have had "all hands on deck" to prepare for the inauguration, adding that the route has generated "wide interest".

While the management company at Antwerp airport says the UK's planned withdrawal from the European Union will bring uncertainty, it says trade with the UK "will not diminish".

"Quite the contrary," argues Antwerp airport chief Marcel Buelens. "We expect that even more people will have to travel to the British capital in order to sort out certain matters and to make maximum use of the new opportunities that will present themselves."

Air Antwerp will operate up to three-times daily on the route.