Category Archives: Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines retires an Airbus A330-300 (OO-SFN) after 25 years of service

Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-301 OO-SFN (msn 037) BRU (Karl Cornil). Image: 921439.

Brussels Airlines has retired its first Airbus A330-300. The pictured A330-301 OO-SFN (msn 037) departed Brussels on November 13 for storage at the Pinal Airpark, Arizona.

OO-SFN was originally delivered to Air Inter as F-GMDB on December 30, 1993, then to SABENA on July 30, 1997 as OO-SFN and later served with SN Brussels Airlines and at the end, Brussels Airlines.

At one time it carried “Music our freedom” special markings.

Copyright Photo (all other images by Brussels Airlines): Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-301 OO-SFN (msn 037) BRU (Karl Cornil). Image: 921439.

Brussels Airlines aircraft slide show:

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Brussels Airlines invests further in its Africa network, drops Mumbai

Brussels Airlines continues to invest in its position on the African market, by further reinforcing its flight offer to and from the continent.

As of next year, the airline adds 3 extra flights per week to Banjul (Gambia) and will operate 3 out of the 7 weekly frequencies to Dakar (Senegal) as a direct flight, without a stop in another African airport.

At the same time, the airline ceases its operations to and from Mumbai on January 6, 2019, but continues to offer its customers smooth travel options via Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich with Lufthansa Group partners Lufthansa and Swiss.

After a network expansion of 26 short- and medium-haul destinations this summer, Brussels Airlines invests further in its African long-haul network in winter. The airline will service Banjul (The Gambia) daily instead of 4 times a week. From the 7 weekly flights to and from Dakar, 3 flights will become direct flights, without a stop in another African airport from 7 January onwards, creating more capacity on the flights on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Brussels Airlines’ Mumbai flights, which were launched in March 2017, will be stopped on January 6, 2019 for economic reasons, as the route does not deliver the anticipated results. At the same time, passengers still have ample alternative travel options via Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich thanks to Lufthansa Group airlines Lufthansa and SWISS. The Mumbai flight capacity will be used to refocus on Africa, the core intercontinental business of Brussels Airlines.

Customers who had booked flights to or from Mumbai after 6 January are being contacted by Brussels Airlines and are offered alternative travel solutions to get to their final destination.

On the short-haul network, Brussels Airlines adds two new destinations: as from October Kiev (Ukraine) will be served 4 times a week and as of February a 3-weekly service to Wroclaw (Poland) will be launched. Furthermore the airline adds additional frequencies to existing destinations this winter season, including Alicante, Billund, Bordeaux, Faro, Geneva, Lisbon, Malaga and Tel Aviv.

Brussels Airlines Airbus A320-214 OO-TCV (msn 1968) LHR (SPA). Image: 941759.

Above Copyright Photo: Brussels Airlines Airbus A320-214 OO-TCV (msn 1968) LHR (SPA). Image: 941759.

Brussels Airlines aircraft slide show:

Brussels Airlines is also making a significant investment this winter in its long-haul product and overall on board experience by gradually renewing the cabins of its ten Airbus A330 aircraft, launching a brand new Business Class, a renewed Economy Class and for the first time a Premium Economy Class in a separate cabin. The first refurbished aircraft will be ready in December.

New destinations starting in Winter 2018-2019:

  • Kiev 4x/week (as of October 2018) – all-year destination
  • Wroclaw 3x/week (as of Feb 2019) – all-year destination

Additional frequencies as from Winter Season (starting on October 29, 2018)

Short Haul

  • Alicante +1/week
  • Billund +2/week
  • Bordeaux +1/week
  • Faro +1/week
  • Geneva +1/week
  • Lisbon +1/week

Long Haul (changes effective as from January 7, 2019)

  • Banjul +3/week (daily service)
  • Dakar: remains daily service but 3 times direct

All other images by Brussels Airlines.

New setup for Eurowings Group; Eurowings and Brussels Airlines to have new roles

Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-343 OO-SFX (msn 1085) IAD (Brian McDonough). Image: 933802.

Eurowings Group issued this statement:

  • Brussels Airlines set to become long-haul competence center of Eurowings Group
  • Eurowings airline will be responsible for the short-haul business of the Eurowings Group
  • Eurowings Group CEO Thorsten Dirks: “New strategic setup puts us at the helm of European airline consolidation”

After first successes of joint projects, Eurowings and Brussels Airlines will take the next decisive steps in the integration process, defining each other’s roles within the Eurowings Group.

Taking the expertise and strengths of both entities into consideration, Brussels Airlines will become the long-haul competence center of the Eurowings Group, steering all long-haul activities of the entire group out of Brussels. Next to that, the airline will actively participate in the Eurowings Group pan-European growth strategy by becoming the operator for the expansion to other airport bases in the French- and Dutch-speaking part of Europe.

“The successful launch of Eurowings long-haul flights operated by Brussels Airlines out of Düsseldorf to New York, Fort Myers and Miami last April, reconfirms the long-haul expertise of the Brussels based airline,” said Eurowings Group CEO Thorsten Dirks. “In only five months Eurowings and Brussels Airlines have managed to set up a long-haul base at Düsseldorf, strengthening the group in one of its key German airports,” he added.

In parallel, Eurowings – focusing on European point-to-point traffic – will steer the entire short-haul portfolio of the Eurowings Group from Cologne.

Dirks: “Joining forces with Brussels Airlines will not only strengthen our position as the #3 low-cost carrier in Europe but also spur further Eurowings Group growth in the future”, specifies Thorsten Dirks.

Both airlines will continue to operate long-haul and short-haul flights out of their respective bases Brussels, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Vienna.

This also means that even though two competence centers are being created at Brussels and Cologne, there will remain functions for both long-haul and short-haul operations at both locations. Implementation of the new setup is planned for 2019. Eurowings Group already operates from more than 20 European bases today.

“Brussels Airlines is recognized for its expertise and for the value it adds to the Eurowings Group. We will continue building on our assets to become an even more important player within the group, while remaining Belgium’s strong home carrier and continuing to focus on our guests,” adds Christina Foerster, CEO of Brussels Airlines.

Eurowings Group CEO Thorsten Dirks is confident that this new teamwork structure under the umbrella of Eurowings Group is the right strategic step to meet future challenges. “The scattered European aviation landscape is beginning to consolidate – the new structure of Eurowings Group will make it possible for us to be at the helm of this development.”

Top Copyright Photo: Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-343 OO-SFX (msn 1085) IAD (Brian McDonough). Image: 933802.

Brussels Airlines aircraft slide show:

Eurowings aircraft slide show:

Bottom Copyright Photo: Eurowings Airbus A320-214 WL D-AEWF (msn 7087) PMI (Ton Jochems). Image: 942712.

Eurowings Airbus A320-214 WL D-AEWF (msn 7087) PMI (Ton Jochems). Image: 942712.

Brussels Airlines introduces new Economy Light fare on North American routes

Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-301 OO-SFM (msn 030) IAD (Brian McDonough). Image: 939585.

Brussels Airlines has announced it is now offering its guests a so-called Economy Light fare option on North American routes. The new offer is the cheapest choice for price-conscious passengers who are travelling with hand luggage only and do not require ticket flexibility.

Economy Light passengers have the option of individually booking a piece of luggage or reserving a particular seat against a fee, and to personalize their experience by adding services that best meet their needs. Meals and drinks continue to be free of charge for all passengers on board. The Economy Light fares start at €383 for a return flight to New York JFK and can be booked as of today on brusselsairlines.com or via travel agencies.

Brussels Airlines is introducing the new Economy Light fare on its North American destinations (New York, Washington D.C. and Toronto) together with Austrian, Lufthansa and Swiss as well as with its A++ joint venture partners United and Air Canada.

Copyright Photo (all others by Brussels Airlines): Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-301 OO-SFM (msn 030) IAD (Brian McDonough). Image: 939585.

Brussels Airlines aircraft slide show:

Brussels Airlines submits new offer to its pilot community focusing on work life balance and remuneration package

Brussels Airlines' 2018 "Aerosmurf" logo jet

Brussels Airlines has issued this statement:

The Brussels Airlines management and union delegates have worked together intensively the past weeks to further improve the working conditions of the airline’s pilot community. Today, the airline and its social partners have discussed the proposal that will be submitted to the Brussels Airlines pilots for referendum in the coming days.

The current proposal is the result of a joint working group that mainly focussed on the improvement of the current duty and rest time rules and other measures further enhancing the work life balance of the pilots, as well as a compensation plan.

The new proposal represents an important investment both financially as well as in terms of resources for the company and answers to the majority of the concerns of the Brussels Airlines cockpit community.

Based on the proposal made, Brussels Airlines hopes that an agreement can be reached.

In other news, Brussels Airlines welcomed 5.3% more passengers in May, compared to the same period last year. The growth was projected to be higher, but two days of social actions forced the airline to cancel 557 flights. Nevertheless, compared to the same month last year, the number of passengers traveling with Brussels Airlines rose from 839,320 to 883,784.

Compared to the same month last year, Brussels Airlines performed 7.3% less flights in May. The decrease in flights is caused by the social actions of the airline’s pilots on May 14th and May 16th, causing the cancellation of 557 flights. However, the number of passengers traveling on a Brussels Airlines flight rose by 5.3% compared to May 2017.

On the European network the airline registered a passenger growth of 4.8%, while the number of passengers travelling on North American flights rose by 1.3%. Compared to the same month last year, 2.7% more customers have chosen Brussels Airlines for flights to and from the Middle East. The strongest increase was noted on the African network, where 14.1% more guests boarded a Brussels Airlines flight. The number of people traveling with Brussels Airlines to Asia decreased by 13.2%, due to a lower flight offer. In May 2018 the airline operated 40 flights to Mumbai, compared to 44 flights in May 2017.

Despite the decrease in operated flights, the Available Seat-Kilometers (ASK) increased by 3.9%, due to the replacement of the last AVRO jets (100 seats) by bigger Airbus aircraft (180 seats). The Passenger Load Factor climbed up from 76.5% in May last year to 80.3% in May 2018. Thanks to its increased offer, Brussels Airlines was able to continue offering competitive fares and attract even more customers. This means, however, that the pressure on the ticket prices remains very high.

The Cargo Load Factor increased by 4.3 percentage points to an average of 69.7%, while the Revenue Ton-Kilometers (RTK) grew by 11.0%. The transported cargo volume amounted to 4,446 tons.

Copyright Photo: Brussels Airlines Airbus A320-214 OO-SND (msn 1838) (we fly you to the home of the Smurfs) BRU (Ton Jochems). Image: 941886.

Brussels Airlines aircraft slide show:

Brussels Airlines endures two days of strikes this week

Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-223 OO-SFY (msn 229) YYZ (TMK Photography). Image: 941517.

Brussels Airlines is today being struck by its pilot’s union. The airline will endure another day of industrial action on Wednesday.

The airline issued this statement before the strikes started:

Brussels Airlines deeply regrets that strike actions triggered by its social partners representing the airline’s pilot community are causing massive disruptions in Monday’s and Wednesday’s flight operations.

The strike will impact Brussels Airlines flights to and from Brussels on May 14 and May 16, 2018.   278 flights to and from Brussels were scheduled on Monday and 279 flights on Wednesday, with respectively 34,000 and 29,000 passengers booked.

“Despite the fact that we do everything we can to reduce the inconveniences to our guests to a minimum, the strike severely impacts the travel plans of our customers, for which we wish to sincerely apologise. We have mobilized a maximum of staff and have increased the capacity of our Service Center to assist our guests as much as possible with rebooking”, explains Thibault Demoulin, Chief Operating Officer of Brussels Airlines. “From Brussels Airlines’ point of view, the strike is incomprehensible, since the company has submitted substantial offers to the cockpit union delegation”, continues Thibault Demoulin.

Priority is given to the stranded guests

Significant disruptions to the flight operations are to be expected during the days of the strike.

Passengers booked on a flight on Monday or Wednesday can rebook their flight free of charge or cancel their reservation at no extra charge with a full refund. Guests who are stranded at their destination will be offered maximum care, including hotel accommodation, alternative travel options on Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa Group airlines or other available carriers.

 

New conciliation process to start

A first proposal of a flexible benefit plan, that foresaw as of January 1, 2019 an increase of 3% of the pilot’s monthly gross salary and an additional 3% as of 2020 should there be no growth, had been refused by the pilots.

Today, in order to give a new chance to the negotiations, the management of Brussels Airlines had made a new proposal for its pilots. Indeed, following latest discussions among Brussels Airlines management, union representatives and pilots, all parties involved came to the conclusion that the past weeks and months the focus in the negotiations was too much on salary increase rather than on the improvement of work-life balance, which seems to be the predominant concern of the pilot community.

The purpose was now to reinforce the already established working group on flight-time/duty-time (workload) in order to come with concrete proposals. With the feedback received, the management has decided to put extra resources into this working group and re-allocate part of the foreseen funds to the improvement of rosters and holiday planning.

The management of Brussels Airlines proposed to finalize a concrete planning listing all the initiatives, to speed up the process. To cover the implementation period of a new to be agreed proposal, intermediate compensation measures are being worked on, which can be implemented in the short run.

“We deeply regret the refusal of our new offer that focuses on the main concern of our pilots – an improved work-life balance. We know that this is the most important to them”, explains Christina Foerster, CEO of Brussels Airlines. “We are also worried about the process as our social partners announced a strike even before the new conciliation process has started. It goes without saying that we remain open for transparent and constructive dialogue as we continue aiming at a solution that on the one hand responds to the concerns of our pilots and on the other hand doesn’t put the future of our company at stake. The union delegation continues to propose the same 12 points, which represent a total increase in cost of 25% for the company. It would be irresponsible for the future of our company and its 3900 employees to accept this.”

Top Copyright Photo: Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-223 OO-SFY (msn 229) YYZ (TMK Photography). Image: 941517.

Brussels Airlines aircraft slide show:

Reuters: Brussels Airlines pilots call for a strike on May 11

First A340, in service March 20, 2018 Dusseldorf - Vienna

From Reuters:

Pilots of Lufthansa subsidiary Brussels Airlines plan to go on strike from May 11 in a dispute over pay and conditions.

The unions of pilots formally notified the airline of its intention on Friday, although there will be talks between Brussels Airlines and union representatives on Monday, the airline and a union representative said.

Pilots want a pay hike, a better work-life balance, improved career prospects and the possibility of earlier retirement and voted 80 percent in favor of a strike.

Filip Lemberechts of the ACLVB union said many of the concerns related to Brussels Airlines future as part of Lufthansa’s budget brand Eurowings.

“What will happen to Brussels Airlines for medium- and long-haul flights, what is the position of Brussels… As long as there is uncertainty, people are worried,” he said.

Lufthansa, which took control of the Belgian national flag carrier in 2016, earlier this year appointed a new chief executive officer and chief operating officer at the airline.

The German company plans to use Brussels Airlines to expand long-haul operations for its Eurowings budget brand out of Duesseldorf.

Copyright Photo: Operated by Brussels Airlines: Eurowings (Brussels Airlines) Airbus A340-313 OO-SCW (msn 335) PMI (Javier Rodriguez). Image: 941319.

Eurowings aircraft slide show:

Brussels Airlines aircraft slide show:

Bottom Copyright Photo: Brussels Airlines Airbus A320-214 OO-TCQ (msn 2114) BRU (Ton Jochems). Image: 941516.

Brussels Airlines Airbus A320-214 OO-TCQ (msn 2114) BRU (Ton Jochems). Image: 941516.