Category Archives: Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines reports a loss of 70 million euros in first quarter

We fly you to the home of Tintin"

As a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, Brussels Airlines reported an adjusted EBIT of EUR -70 million for the first quarter, only a 9% decrease compared to the same period last year, which included January and February 2020, two “normal” months  before the Coronavirus reached Europe. The first quarter is traditionally the lowest performing one of the year in the aviation industry. The Belgian airline’s revenue fell by 76% year-on-year to EUR 55 million, while operating costs were brought down by 59% to EUR 130 million, in part due to lower production, but also thanks to cost-saving measures in its Reboot Plus program.

Between January and March, Brussels Airlines welcomed 192,000 passengers, a drop of 88% compared to the first quarter of 2020, when two out of the three months were “normal” months without the impact of Covid-19. The airline operated 1,791 flights, also an 87% decrease. The average seat load factor fell by 15.3 percentage points to 58.2%.

The ban on non-essential travel issued by the Belgian government severely impacted both the Brussels Airlines’ medium-haul-  and  long-haul passenger numbers. The intercontinental traffic performed however better than the European operations due to the company’s focus on African routes with a stable demand in the VFR segment (Visiting Friends & Relatives) and at the level of cargo, especially in terms of medical supply transport.

Brussels Airlines’ revenue fell by 76% year-on-year to EUR 55 million in the first quarter of 2021 as a result of the Corona crisis, while operating revenue was 76% lower year-on-year at EUR 60 million.

Operating expenses decreased by 59% to EUR 130 million primarily due to the volume-related drop in material expenses. Despite a large proportion of fixed costs, cost reductions were made thanks to a near completion of the restructuring phase of the Reboot Plus program.

Brussels Airlines’ Adjusted EBIT decreased accordingly by 9% to EUR -70 million (previous year: EUR -64 million). The EBIT improved by 25% to likewise EUR -70 million (previous year: EUR -93 million), although the previous year’s figure was impacted by impairment losses on aircraft and rights-of-use of aircraft amounting to EUR 29 million.

Within its Reboot Plus transformation program Brussels Airlines has almost completed the restructuring phase which reduces the fleet size by 30% and staff numbers by 25%. Among other additional measures in this program, new collective labor agreements have been in force since January 2021 for all employee groups, generating a competitive cost structure at the level of the personnel costs. The Reboot Plus program, targeting a structural 8% EBIT margin by 2024, now enters a second phase, a phase of strategic investment in customer servicing, in efficiency, employee development  and in tools in order to create a long-term profitable future for the company.


Since the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis, Brussels Airlines has strictly adapted its flight capacity to respond as closely as possible to the market demand in order to safeguard its cash position. Thanks to this very proactive and restrictive capacity management, Brussels Airlines was able to maintain cash-positive flight operations every week since its restart on 15 June 2020.

Currently Brussels Airlines is gradually building up its flight capacity to be able to provide a flight offer in line with the expected demand for the summer holiday season (on average 65% of its 2019 capacity), with a focus on the leisure segment and of course its large African offer.

Top Copyright Photo: Brussels Airlines Airbus A320-214 OO-SNB (msn 1493) (We fly you to the home of Tintin) BRU (Ton Jochems). Image: 943968.

Brussels Airlines aircraft slide show:

Brussels Airlines to gradually operate to 79 destinations this summer with the launch of new destinations Bordeaux, Tangier, Nador and Al Hoceima

Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-223 OO-SFT (msn 291) IAD (Brian McDonough). Image: 953397.

Brussels Airlines press releases:

With travel restrictions evolving and vaccination programs underway, the demand for air travel is slowly picking up. Brussels Airlines has redesigned its network to meet this demand, especially for holiday destinations. Next to the reopening of its leisure destinations, Brussels Airlines also launches flights to Bordeaux in France and Tangier, Nador and Al Hoceima in Morocco. With the opening of these new destinations, the airline emphasizes its important position on the leisure and VFR (Visit Friends and Relatives) market.

Over the past six months, the airline operated a network that focused on essential travel, mainly with flights to and from Africa. Today the airline gives its leisure customers a positive outlook on the summer, together with partners and tour operators. Over the coming months, the airline expects an increase in demand for air travel during the summer holidays. On top of the destinations the airline offers today, following destinations will join the network in the coming months:

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Opening in May 2021:

Austria: Vienna
Greece: Heraklion, Kos, Rhodes
Israel
: Tel Aviv
Italy: Bologna, Napoli, Rome
Scotland:
 Edinburgh
Slovenia: Ljubljana
Spain
: Bilbao, Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia

Opening in June 2021:

Angola: Luanda
Armenia: Yerevan
Czech Republic:
 Prague
Croatia: Dubrovnik, Split
England:
 Birmingham
France: Bordeaux
Greece: 
Corfu, Zakynthos
Hungary: Budapest
Italy:
 Bari, Catania, Florence, Milan Linate, Palermo
Lithuania:
 Vilnius
Morocco: Nador, Tangier
Norway: 
Oslo
Poland: Krakow, Warsaw
Russia:
 Moscow Sheremetyevo, Saint Petersburg
Sweden:
 Gothenburg
United States: 
New York, Washington D.C.

Opening in July 2021:

Italy: Olbia (Sardinia)

Opening in August 2021:

Germany: Frankfurt (new destination)

Opening in September 2021:

Switzerland: Basel

 

New destinations: Bordeaux, Tangier, Nador and Al Hoceima

In addition to the reopening of a large part of its network, Brussels Airlines is also thrilled to add four destination to its portfolio: Bordeaux in France and Al Hoceima, Tangier  and Nador in Morocco. These last three destinations will be offered in cooperation with ML Tours. The first flight to Bordeaux will take off on June 20, with two weekly flights on Fridays and Sundays. Nador and Tangier will join the network as of June 26 and 27 respectively. Nador will be connected with Brussels Airport twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays, while flights to Tangier will be operated every Wednesday and Sunday. Flights to Al Hoceima will exclusively be bookable through ML Tours.

Next to Bordeaux, Tangier, Nador and Al Hoceima, also Frankfurt joins the Brussels Airlines network for the first time, as the airline announced on February 24th. The first flight from Brussels to Frankfurt will take off on August 2nd.

Africa and North Atlantic

Washington DC and New York are planned to be operated as of June 14. These will be the first North-Atlantic flights of Brussels Airlines since March 21st, 2020. Montreal is planned to join the network on June 15, but given the current travel restrictions in Canada these plans might still alter.

As for the African network, Brussels Airlines gradually increases its flight frequencies to all its African destinations as of mid June, when West African destinations Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Accra (Ghana), Banjul (Gambia) and Dakar (Senegal) are planned to be offered on a daily basis. In Central and East Africa Douala and Yaounde (both in Cameroon), Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Entebbe (Uganda) are also foreseen to be served daily. Luanda joins the network again after more than a year. As of June 15, the Angolan city will be served three times weekly.

Top Copyright Photo: Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-223 OO-SFT (msn 291) IAD (Brian McDonough). Image: 953397.

Brussels Airlines aircraft slide show:

Brussels Airlines wants to thank coronavirus heroes

Brussels Airlines issued this statement:

In tough times, tough people rise and transcend. The past year, so many people rolled up their sleeves and went above and beyond to help others. Now Brussels Airlines thinks it is time to thank those everyday heroes, as heroes deserve a vacation too. Therefore, Brussels Airlines calls on everyone to share the story of their own hero. The Belgian airline will then thank 250 of those big and little heroes with a voucher worth €250 for a flight of their choice. Brussels Airlines got inspired for the campaign by its own staff, after many of the company’s employees began volunteering during their temporary technical unemployment.

On its social media channels, Brussels Airlines puts two of its own corona heroes in the spotlight: Dominique Jacobs, a volunteer in a residential care center and with Nicola Bové, who is committed to neglected animals. The coronavirus pandemic caused a historically low market demand for air travel last year, resulting in temporary technical unemployment for staff. Soon, the company noticed a great drive among its staff to roll up their sleeves elsewhere, ranging from crisis volunteer at the Belgian Red Cross, steward at a vaccination or testing center, to teaching online language classes to children and adults at home and abroad.

Videos:

With vaccination programs underway in many countries and demand for travel slowly starting to pick up for summer offering perspectives for the travel sector, Brussels Airlines wants to thank 250 corona heroes with this symbolic action, giving them a voucher worth €250 for a flight of their choice, on a date of your choice. The airline is looking for positive stories from the past year. Whether it is someone who made a difference in the framework of a profession, someone who spent time volunteering or a friendly neighbor who helped with the grocery shopping; all stories are welcome and everyone can nominate a corona hero via brusselsairlines.com regardless of the function or heroic deed of the person.

As it is currently not easy for many people to plan a trip, Brussels Airlines continues to focus on its great flexibility. The voucher can be used until December 31, 2021. Tickets booked until 31 May can be rebooked free of charge for a later date and/or another destination. Participation in the contest is possible until May 3, 2021, winners will be contacted at the end of May.

Inside Brussels Airlines: preparing for their gradual summer relaunch

Brussels Airlines issued this article:

With vaccination programs underway in many countries and demand for travel slowly starting to pick up for summer Brussels Airlines prepares its operations for a gradual build up of its flight offer.

At an airline, such a buildup does not happen overnight and it takes several months to prepare. We not only need to get our planes ready to hit the skies again, but we also need to get our cabin and cockpit crew and our Ground Operations colleagues back up to speed and fully trained after a period of inactivity.

Training our pilots, crew and ground staff

In aviation, nothing is left to chance and safety is at all times the highest priority. Therefore, our Training department worked out a very thorough and intensive training program to make sure we fully prepare our pilots to take off again. The first group started their training at the beginning of April. For each pilot, the program takes approximately one month to complete and includes 14 hours of theoretical training, including self-study and classroom trainings to review all flight and aircraft procedures, 12 hours of simulator and  10 to 20 flights with an instructor, depending on the experience of the pilot. Last but not least, every pilot performs a line check before they are released to fly on their own again. In total 150 pilots need to go through this complete training and we expect to finish the training program by summer. Our 400 other pilots have continuously been trained during the past months.

As for our cabin crew, as of 1 May, 130 cabin colleagues who have been in full temporary unemployment will gradually be retrained for flying duties with seven to ten days of refresher courses, depending on the type of flights they operate (short haul or long haul), and several familiarization flights to have all safety procedures and Corona-related hygiene measures fresh in mind when they welcome our passengers on board again.

Also on the ground, we prepare our airport colleagues for their duties. They get refresher courses and work in pairs with colleagues on their first day back on the job so they are ready to welcome our guests again.

Getting our aircraft ready

Today, 21 of our 38 aircraft are operational. In order to increase our flight offer, we of course also need to get more and more aircraft back in the air to prepare for summer.

As aircraft are made to fly, not to stand on the ground,  we have kept busy meticulously maintaining our birds while they were inactive, in order to keep them in great shape once we could reactivate them. To reactivate an aircraft after such a long period (some have been parked since March 2020), our Maintenance teams go through thorough procedures, checking every nook and cranny of the fuselage and moving parts, checking every valve and tube, and test-running all electronic systems. They test the engines, replace life vests and other safety equipment if they are expired, and getting the cabin ready with a thorough cleaning. Finally, they run a test flight to give the aircraft a final GO for operations. The entire de-storage process takes approximately 200 man hours per aircraft.

Hygiene measures

Welcoming more passengers means that it is important to emphasize that we continue to apply the same Corona measures as before. These include a mandatory face mask during the entire flight (as of arrival at the airport) for every passenger as of six years old, row by row boarding and de-boarding to avoid queues in the aircraft, extra disinfection of the aircraft and of course proper hand hygiene. All our aircraft are equipped with HEPA filters that continuously supply clean air on board. See the complete overview or our measures here.

As usual, we ask passengers who feel unwell not to travel, to protect the health of other passengers and our crew. As many countries still have specific restrictions, we ask our passengers to check the requirements before they travel.

Brussels Airlines' 2019 salute to artist Pieter Bruegel

 

Above Copyright Photo: Brussels Airlines Airbus A320-214 OO-SNE (msn 4243) (Pieter Bruegel – we fly you to home of Bruegel) LHR (Tony Storck). Image: 947177.

Brussels Airlines aircraft slide show:

COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacts Brussels Airlines 2020 financial results

Brussels Airlines closes 2020 with an Adjusted EBIT of EUR -293 million:

  • In line with expectations due to the Covid-19 crisis, Brussels Airlines booked a loss of EUR 293 million in the financial year 2020.
  • Losses and cash-out limited by stringent cost-saving and cash management measures.
  • Revenue down by 72% to 414 EUR million and operating expenses decreased by 53%, mainly due to lower production.
  • Passenger numbers decreased by 77% to 2.4 million.
  • Transformation plan Reboot was intensified and accelerated to counteract the impact of the crisis and lay the basis for profitability by 2023.
  • 2021 foresees a gradual capacity build-up, but will remain a challenging year. Summer season is essential.

 

2020 was an unprecedented year for the airline industry, including for Brussels Airlines. With a restructuring plan already ongoing at the beginning of 2020, Brussels Airlines was off to a good start in January and February, when suddenly demand began to crumble fast as the Coronavirus found its way to Europe. The second quarter was marked by a worldwide lockdown, when at the end of March Brussels Airlines decided to ground its fleet during 12 weeks, with only repatriation and cargo flights still operating. On 15 June, the airline resumed a reduced flight schedule, with very tight steering and a very flexible capacity management, in order to guarantee cash positive operations and preserve its cash position from further deterioration. Every week so far since the restart in June, Brussels Airlines succeeded to obtain cash-positive operations, i.e. covering all flight related cash-outs with respective revenues. Nevertheless, fixed costs such as aircraft loans, personnel expenses, rent etc. still remain and are not covered by the current low level of flying.

Summer 2020 showed a promising resumption of traffic with strong demand on the European leisure network, as well as on the African network.  However, a second wave of Covid-19 slowed down demand again after summer. As a result of the restrictive travel regulations worldwide and to meet the cash-positive flying target, the capacity decreased further in October and November and reached a level of -78% vs the same period in 2019. As demand remained much more stable on the African segment than on the European sector, the airline shifted its focus toward its African portfolio, in combination with its European feeder flights for the rest of the winter season. Around the end of year holiday period another peak in demand was recorded on the European leisure segment and on the African network. The full year capacity was severely impacted by the crisis, with 74% less flights compared to the previous year.

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Brussels Airlines’ revenue fell by 72% to EUR 414 million (previous year: EUR 1,473 million) as a result of the Coronavirus crisis. Operating revenue was 71% below the previous year’s level at EUR 456 million (previous year: EUR 1,555 million).

Brussels Airlines’ Adjusted EBIT fell to EUR -293 million in the 2020 financial year (previous year: EUR -27 million – IFRS standard). The Adjusted EBIT margin decreased by 69.0 percentage points to -70.8% (previous year: -1.8%). EBIT decreased to EUR -332 million (previous year: EUR -32 million). The difference compared with Adjusted EBIT was mainly due to impairment losses on rights of use for aircraft amounting to EUR 33 million.

With 2.4 million passengers, Brussels Airlines carried 77% fewer passengers in the reporting year than in the previous year (previous year: 10.3 million). Capacity had to be reduced by 71% and sales fell by 75%. At 68.3%, the seat load factor was 13.2 percentage points lower than in the previous year (81.5%). Average yields increased by 1.0% after adjusting for foreign exchange effects. Traffic revenue fell by 72% to EUR 384 million (previous year: EUR 1,386 million).

New CEO

Since 1 March, Peter Gerber is the new CEO of Brussels Airlines. Next to his role as CEO and CCO of Brussels Airlines, Peter Gerber also acts as the Lufthansa Group Chief Representative for European Affairs. His focus will be on guaranteeing continuity at the airline, further implementing the Reboot Plus plan to create a profitable future for the company and steering the airline through the crisis in a sustainable manner.

 „2020 confronted Brussels Airlines and the entire aviation industry with the largest crisis in its history. I want to thank everyone involved for their support during this difficult time: employees, partners and our customers. Rapidly changing travel restrictions and hygiene measures along with unprecedented drops in demand and production formed great challenges for everyone at Brussels Airlines. Since the beginning of the crisis, our employees have shown incredible resilience, even throughout the large-scale temporary unemployment still ongoing today in the company. I intend to foster the passionate spirit at Brussels Airlines to continue to turn the company into profitability.”
Peter Gerber
, CEO Brussels Airlines

 

Reboot Plus lays the foundation for a profitable future

In order to respond to the crisis and the expectation of a slow recovery of the demand, as well as to lay the basis for a resilient and sustainable company after the crisis, Brussels Airlines intensified and accelerated its Reboot transformation plan, reducing its fleet by 25% and its workforce by 20%, thanks to the financial support of Lufthansa (EUR 170 million cash injection, of which 70 million for the restructuring). As part of the fleet adjustment, the usage rights of two Airbus A330-200s and eight Airbus A319s were written off. Thanks to an agreement with its social partners, the airline was able to keep 80% of its workforce on board. Through alternative measures to voluntarily leave the company forced dismissals were kept to a minimum. 18% of the 20% workforce reduction is in place today and all agreements have been reached to reduce the fleet. In addition, new collective labour agreements were negotiated with all employee groups. Furthermore, a government loan of EUR 290 million to overcome the crisis was granted by the Belgian government, from which Brussels Airlines has withdrawn a first slice in December and a second one in February.

“In 2020, the focus of the Reboot Plus plan was on the restructuring. In 2021, the second phase of the plan starts, i.e. the improvement phase. Indeed, the transformation plan does not only focus on cost cutting, but also on changing our way of working and on strategic investments, like digitization projects – e.g. new booking platform, digitization at ground operations,… Within our transformation towards a profitable future, we also want to continue more than ever our efforts at the level of sustainability, like fleet rejuvenation, CO2 reduction and waste reduction.”
Peter Gerber, CEO Brussels Airlines

 

Outlook 2021

Brussels Airlines currently plans to gradually increase its capacity towards summer, reinforcing its position as the home carrier of Belgium with a strong focus on leisure and its Africa network. However, flexibility remains key as the crisis remains very unpredictable and the travel restrictions have thoroughly changed the booking pattern of customers, shifting towards very last minute bookings. For the entire year, the airline plans to operate almost double the capacity it operated in 2020.

„Although we have a limited view on the demand recovery due to the very last minute booking behaviour of the market during the crisis, we are hopeful that 2021 will see a gradual positive trend in demand as soon as the vaccination programme advances on a larger scale and travel restrictions are gradually lifted. A reliable testing and vaccination strategy remains essential for a recovery for the whole aviation and tourism industry. It is therefore of utmost importance that the Belgian government takes into account the aviation industry in its economic relaunch plan. It is key to us to offer perspective to our employees. The summer season will prove to be very important and we remain cautious, as this year will remain very difficult. We will continue to focus on our very strict cash and cost management, including cash-positive flying, temporary unemployment and very limited cash-outs, as well as on implementing our Reboot Plus plan to meet our business plan and create a profitable future.”
Nina Öwerdieck, Chief Financial Officer Brussels Airlines

 

Brussels Airlines prepares for summer with the reopening of holiday destinations

Brussels Airlines has made this announcement:

  • 78 destinations for the summer flight schedule
  • Focus on leisure destinations
  • Start of Brussels-Frankfurt connection in August
  • All fares remain flexible

As the demand for holiday travel is expected to rise towards the summer months, Brussels Airlines wants to offer its customers attractive holiday destinations, together with its partners and tour operators. With a wide offer of holiday flights, the airline wants to provide its customers a positive outlook for the coming summer.

Next to 18 intercontinental destinations in Africa and North America, Brussels Airlines plans to operate 60 short and medium haul routes with a focus on holiday hotspots such as Greece, Portugal and Spain.

Today, Brussels Airlines operates flights to nearly all of its African destinations, while offering only a small capacity on Europe, limited to feeder flights for the African network. As of April, Brussels Airlines will progressively reopen its European network, with a focus on holiday travel. The first routes to re-join the network will be Alicante, Athens, Barcelona, Bilbao, Bologna, Budapest, Catania, Faro, Gran Canaria, Heraklion, Kos, Krakow, Lisbon, Madrid, Malaga, Napoli, Nice, Oslo, Porto, Prague, Rome, Stockholm, Tel Aviv, Tenerife, Valencia, Vilnius and Warsaw.

As of May also Dubrovnik, Edinburgh, Ibiza, Milan Linate, Moscow, Palermo, Palma de Mallorca, Rhodes, Split and Vienna will be added. From June onwards, Brussels Airlines will add more flight frequencies to these destinations as well as open new ones, including Bari, Birmingham, Corfu, Florence, Goteborg, Saint Petersburg, Yerevan, and Zakynthos on the medium haul network.

Africa and North Atlantic

Washington DC and New York are planned to be operated as of June 14, Montreal joins the network on June 15. These will be the first North-Atlantic flights of Brussels Airlines since March 21st, 2020.

As for the African network, Brussels Airlines gradually increases its flight frequencies to all its African destinations towards a peak as of mid June, when West African destinations Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Accra (Ghana), Banjul (Gambia) and Dakar (Senegal) are planned to be offered on a daily basis. In Central and East Africa Douala and Yaounde (both in Cameroon), Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Entebbe (Uganda) are also planned to be served daily. Luanda joins the network again after more than a year. As of June 15, the Angolan city will be served three times weekly. Compared to today, weekly frequencies on the long haul network will triple.

New route: Brussels – Frankfurt

In addition to the reopening of a large part of its network, Brussels Airlines is also thrilled to add a new destination to its portfolio: Frankfurt. Lufthansa currently serves the connection between Brussels Airport and Frankfurt. As of August, Brussels Airlines will take over 2 flights per day. The connection to the Lufthansa hub in Frankfurt offers great transfer possibilities to the entire Lufthansa network, while passengers departing in Frankfurt enjoy access to the African network the Belgian airline is known for.

The first Brussels Airlines flight to Frankfurt will take off on August 2.

Brussels Airlines signs ground handling contract with Alyzia

Brussels Airlines has made this announcement:

Following the bankruptcy of its handling partner Swissport Belgium in June 2020, Brussels Airlines initiated a procedure to search for a new ground handler in its home base at Brussels Airport. As the bankruptcy vacated the second handling license at the airport, several contenders entered the Belgian market to run for a permanent license. In December, the second permanent operating license was granted to Alyzia, a French company serving over 80 airlines in 8 French airports.

After a thorough tender process that took several months and which was based on quality, performance and cost criteria, Brussels Airlines decided to appoint Alyzia as its new ground handling provider at Brussels Airport as of 1 April 2021. The contract foresees a cooperation until at least 31 March 2024. The contract includes ramp handling (including baggage handling, tarmac handling and de-icing, among other services) and the management of Brussels Airlines’ Lost&Found service. Until the end of March 2021, Brussels Airlines’ ground handling continues to be managed by Aviapartner, the other license holder.

 

Brussels Airlines launches its summer 2021 schedule

Brussels Airlines has made this announcement:

After a difficult 2020, Brussels Airlines is looking cautiously ahead to the summer of 2021. Traditionally, December and January are the months in which Belgians start planning their summer vacations, that’s why the airline now launches its leisure offer for the summer season.

“2020 was a very difficult year for tourism and aviation. We hope that in 2021, we will be able to expand our world again as we look forward to start traveling again. For our holiday makers, we have already added a nice selection of summer destinations to our portfolio, meeting the demand we expect in the market. With this, we show that we remain a strong player in the leisure market.” – David Lyssens, Head of Network and Planning Brussels Airlines.

Puglia, a hidden gem in Italy

This summer season, Brussels Airlines will fly to Bari, in the southern Italian region of Puglia. The new summer destination will be served on Wednesdays and Saturdays between May and September.

Out of Bari, you can discover all of Puglia, the region known as the heel of the boot-shaped peninsula. Here you will find the old Italy with its simple and ancient Italian cuisine as well as the incredibly beautiful azure blue coastline that never bores you and takes you all the way to the southernmost point. Hard, rough and breath-taking landscapes are awaiting you.  Puglia is the region with the largest olive oil production in Italy and that translates into endless vistas of olive groves. Lecce, with its baroque buildings known as the Florence of the south, the beautiful white town of Ostuni, La Grotta Delle Poesia and the traditional Trulli are just some of the fascinating places to visit.

More flights to holiday destinations

In addition to Bari, the flight offer to Belgians’ favorite holiday destinations will be gradually increased starting from March – the start of aviation’s summer season – leading to a peak offer during the summer months (June to September).

For example, the Greek islands of Corfu, Kos, Crete (Heraklion), Rhodes and Zakynthos will be served several times a week and the offer to the Spanish islands of Ibiza, Las Palmas, Mallorca, Tenerife, will also be enlarged.

Athens will be served 6 times a week and on the Spanish mainland Alicante, and Valencia will be offered up to 5 times a week during the peak period.

Two key destinations continue to be offered multiple times per day throughout summer: Nice will be offered three times a day and Malaga will be flown 15 times a week.

In Italy, there will be several weekly flights to Catania, Florence, Naples, Olbia and Palermo next summer, and in Portugal, Lisbon and Porto will continue to be served twice a day. Faro will be offered once daily.

Brussels Airlines will also fly to Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia next summer, twice and once a week respectively.

Brussels Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Brussels Airlines aircraft slide show:

 

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Brussels Airlines reports an adjusted EBIT loss of EUR 233 million in the first nine months of the year

Brussels Airlines made this announcement:

In the first three quarters of the year, Brussels Airlines recorded a loss of EUR 233 million, due to the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus on travel demand. Revenue fell by 70% to EUR 339 million compared to last year. Brussels Airlines transported 73% fewer passengers between January and September and the seat load factor dropped by 11.4 percentage points to 70.6%. Next to the structural review of its overall cost position, Brussels Airlines accelerates the implementation of its restructuring programme Reboot Plus through various short- and long term measures to reduce variable and fixed costs to counter the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

The coronavirus has a dramatic impact on aviation worldwide. Brussels Airlines adjusted its flight schedule to the collapsed travel demand and the different travel restrictions, leading to a twelve-week flight suspension in spring and a reduced flight schedule during summer. The airline resumed its flight operations to Africa in July, re-establishing the important travel link between Europe and the African continent.

After the restart in June, the summer months were stronger than anticipated, with leisure demand picking up. This led to an increased offer to touristic destinations in July and August. Due to the rapidly changing travel restrictions and demand, however, Brussels Airlines needed to adapt its flight capacity in the most flexible way after the summer, to make sure that the capacity offered is as close as possible to the market demand in order to safeguard its cash position. Thanks to this very proactive and restrictive capacity management, Brussels Airlines was able to maintain cash-positive flight operations every week since its restart on 15 June.

As a result of the collapse of demand and capacity, the airline reports an Adjusted EBIT of EUR -233 million for the first nine months of the financial year (previous year: EUR 1 million). The EBIT reached EUR -256 million (previous year: EUR 0 million). The difference with the Adjusted EBIT stems mainly from write-downs of EUR 23 million on right-of-use assets for two Airbus A330-200 and eight Airbus A319 for the necessary fleet resizing.

Revenues were down by 70%, from EUR 1.137 million to EUR 339 million. Brussels Airlines transported 2,107,954 passengers between January and September, compared to 7,905,953 last year (-73%). 18,757 flights have been operated, a 70% decline compared to the 62,683 flights in the first three quarters of 2019. The seat load factor dropped 11.4 percentage points from 82% to 70.6%. Operating expenses decreased by 49% to EUR 607 million, primarily due to the volume-related decline in the cost of materials and services.

The coronavirus outbreak urged Brussels Airlines to intensify and accelerate its existing turnaround programme, which was launched in the third quarter of 2019 and which will now be implemented for 90% by the end of 2020. Following the adaptation of its network, the new plan Reboot Plus will reduce the fleet by 30% and the workforce by 25%. The turnaround programme, which has been agreed upon with the social partners and is in full implementation, will create the basis for a sustainable future for the company. At the end of September 2020, the number of employees already dropped by 14% compared to 2019.

Due to the still volatile and highly unpredictable situation worldwide, it is not possible to make any forecast for 2020 as a whole.

“We continue to focus on the timely implementation of our Reboot Plus plan in 2020, in order to start 2021 as a leaner Brussels Airlines. On the commercial side, contrary to many European competitors, we will continue our strict capacity management to ensure cash-positive operations. As travel restrictions, quarantines and complexity continue to put a heavy burden on travel demand, we plead for a Europe-wide approach for travel regulations in combination with a comprehensive quick testing approach as part of the travel journey. As a first step in this direction, we are working on trials with rapid COVID-19 antigen tests soon on specific flights.”

Dieter Vranckx, CEO Brussels Airlines

 

Brussels Airlines accelerates process to resolve refund backlog

Brussels Airlines as made this announcement:

  • COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented volumes of refund request
  • 31% of refund requests filed so far have been processed
  • Pending refund requests expected to be resolved by the end of October
  • Every customer who is entitled to a refund will be reimbursed
  • Brussels Airlines sincerely apologizes for the long waiting time

 

The COVID-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented crisis that touches nearly all industries worldwide. The aviation and tourism sector is unfortunately no exception. Since the start of the crisis, Brussels Airlines was forced to cancel on average 83% of its scheduled flight program, impacting the travel plans of three million of its passengers. The pandemic and the worldwide travel restrictions caused a three month grounding of the airline’s fleet (from March 21st until June 14th), and urged Brussels Airlines to adapt its offer to the continuously low travel demand.

As a result, Brussels Airlines had to cancel more than 36,000 flights in total since the start of the crisis, which led in that same period to more than one million calls to the airline’s service centre. For comparison, in the entire year of 2019, the Brussels Airlines service centre handled 400,000 calls.  Unfortunately, despite a maximum number of service agents and the 24/7 call centre service, the airline regrets that it wasn’t able to provide its guests with the service level they are used to receive at Brussels Airlines and customers requesting a refund are facing long waiting times. In total, the airline received so far refund requests of a value of 122 million euro.

Brussels Airlines has worked on a solution to speed up the process of the refund handling and is now paying out several thousands of refunds per day. So far, 31% percent of all refund requests have been processed and the airline expects to resolve the bulk of the refund backlog by the end of October, with the exception of the more complex requests, such as bookings involving several airlines.

“We are well aware that the last weeks and months have been extremely difficult for our passengers affected by schedule changes or flight cancellations and we sincerely apologize for the inconveniences caused by overloaded call centres and delays in terms of our response time, especially for the processing of ticket refunds. But rest assured, every passenger who is entitled to a refund and who applied for it, will be reimbursed within the coming weeks”, explains Dieter Vranckx, CEO of Brussels Airlines.

Brussels Airlines kindly asks customers who have already submitted reimbursement requests to please not call the airline on this matter, in order to keep the telephone lines open for customers who would like to travel in the near future.

Passengers holding a Brussels Airlines ticket booked before August 25th, who wish to postpone their travels or whose flight was cancelled, have maximum flexibility to use the value of their ticket later. They have the time until January 31, 2021 to contact the airline to book a new flight. The new journey can take place until 31 December of 2021. Since 25 August, all newly booked tickets remain flexible and can be changed multiple times free of charge.

Passengers whose flights were cancelled and who do not want to make use of the rebooking options can apply for a refund using the online form on the Brussels Airlines website. All information on rebooking and refund options can be found on www.brusselsairlines.com.