Tag Archives: Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines expands its flight offer in September and October

Brussels Airlines launches its flight schedule for September and October, offering more destinations and extra frequencies on both leisure and corporate routes. During these months, the Belgian airline will operate 45% of its normal schedule with 27 aircraft. Due to ongoing travel restrictions, the relaunch of Brussels Airlines’ long-haul operations – originally planned for June 22, 2020 has been delayed until August 2020.

Adapted to the market demand and ongoing travel restrictions, the new Brussels Airlines network for September and October includes a range of holiday destinations as well as corporate ones. The airline adds frequencies to the already relaunched destinations and adds the following destinations to its network map:

Medium-haul:

  • Basel
  • Birmingham
  • Bologna
  • Edinburgh
  • Goteborg
  • Milan Linate
  • Warshaw

Long-haul:

  • Freetown (August)

Following the extension of travel restrictions outside of Europe, the relaunch of the Belgian airline’s long-haul operations has been delayed and is now planned for August and remains subject to governmental approval. On top of the long-haul destinations that were planned to launch as communicated in May, the airline also aims to add Freetown to its network in August.

While the market demand for air travel slowly increases, the airline recognizes the uncertainty that passengers experience these days. Brussels Airlines guests can therefore continue to count on extra flexibility for rebooking. If passengers are unable to travel or prefer to change their travel plans, they can enjoy a free rebooking to a later date before December 31, 2021 and even change their destination. Guests do not need to contact Brussels Airlines immediately as they have the time until January 31, 2021 to let the airline know on what date and where to they want to travel.

 

Inside Brussels Airlines: how an airline gets ready for takeoff after 12 weeks of hibernation

Brussels Airlines issued this report:

Aircraft are not made to stand still. And the same goes for our colleagues, who have missed their jobs dearly. We’re happy that on Monday, we will finally hit the skies again. But restarting flight operations after 12 weeks of hibernation doesn’t happen overnight. Getting an aircraft out of parking mode and making it airworthy again takes about as much time as parking it. Getting our flying staff back up in the air is also something that isn’t taken lightly.

In normal circumstances, a commercial pilot who flies on a regular basis goes through a strict training regime every 6 months, to keep up with all procedures. Now that our pilots have not been in a cockpit for 3 months and do not meet the mandatory “3 landings in 90 days” standard, we need to retrain them to make sure they are ready to get back in the cockpit. A simulator test, as well as a theoretical exam and Crew Resource Management training help get them ready for June 15.

Also our cabin crew colleagues get a refresher course and are trained to apply the new procedures and measures that we have put in place.

 

As for our birds, they are pretty high maintenance, even when they have been on the ground for a long period. Remember how we told you that the storage of an aircraft takes about 400 man hours and they still require regular checks and maintenance? Well, unpacking an aircraft and making it airworthy again takes about 200 man hours, too. From testing all computer systems, getting the cabin ready, to unwrapping the landing gear and engines, nothing is left to chance in aviation.

Photos: Brussels Airlines.

Videos:

Brussels Airlines prepares to start flights on June 15 with set of sanitary measures

Brussels Airlines is getting ready to welcome passengers and staff again as from  June 15, 2020. Next to retraining its cockpit and cabin crew to be ready to start flying again, the airline has reviewed its services and processes and has taken the necessary measures to protect the health of its customers and staff throughout their travel journey, based on recommendations by international aviation organizations IATA and EASA and the Belgian health authorities.

On June 15 the first nine flights of Brussels Airlines will take off from Brussels Airport. In order to make the journey as safe as possible for travelers and personnel, the airline has taken several hygiene measures while still allowing to travel in all comfort.

At the airport

A first important measure is that the airline reminds passengers via several communications not to come to the airport when having symptoms or feeling ill. Flexible rebooking options remain in place should travel plans change at the last minute. Furthermore, Brussels Airport will perform temperature checks before allowing passengers to enter the terminal. At the airport check-in and sales desks plexiglass screens have been installed to protect check-in agents as well as passengers. Transactions will be limited to electronic payment. Social distance courtesy lines will remind travelers to keep at a safe distance. Additional cleaning procedure, hand sanitizers and hygiene reminders are put in place by the airport. Passengers on European flights are encouraged to check in their hand luggage (for free) to avoid queuing on board to find space in the overhead bins.

Mouth and nose covering mask

As from the moment they enter the airport, all passengers from the age of 6 years old are required to wear a mask that covers nose and mouth. The mask must be kept on during the entire flight, as social distance on board cannot be guaranteed.

Boarding and de-boarding will be phased to avoid queues and passengers are requested to scan their own boarding pass to avoid physical contact. The cabin crew will offer to apply hand sanitizer to all passengers when boarding the aircraft, as well as hand out a disinfectant wipe. The aircraft disinfection process has been reinforced and a stronger detergent will be used to make sure all surfaces are clean and the risk of contamination is reduced to a minimum. In combination with the HEPA filters that are on board every Brussels Airlines aircraft, passengers can travel with peace of mind. The HEPA filters on board create a downward stream of continuously cleaned air, which takes away 99.9% of particles in the air, creating an atmosphere in the cabin that is comparable to the air quality of hospital operating rooms.

During the flight, the airline will reduce physical contact between passengers and crew as much as possible. Therefore the meal and drink service on European flights (Buy-on-Board) will not be available and on intercontinental flights, the duty free service will be available for electronic payments only. Unnecessary paper like menu cards, magazines and newspapers are also removed from the aircraft.

The set of measures is based on the recommendations of both IATA (International Air Travel Association) and EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) as well as the Belgian authorities.

Brussels Airlines restarts its operations with a network of 59 destinations from June until August

Last week Brussels Airlines announced that it will restart its commercial flights from its hub at Brussels Airport on June 15, 2020. Based on market demand and ongoing travel restrictions, the airline will offer an adapted and downsized summer schedule, which will consist of approximately 30% of Brussels Airlines’ originally planned summer schedule in Europe and 40% of the long-haul summer program. Between  June 15 and August 31, the company will gradually add destinations to its flight network to reach 59 destinations in 33 countries in Europe, Africa and the US by August.

On June 15, Brussels Airlines will relaunch its flight operations after an interruption of 12 weeks. Based on the market demand and the applicable travel restrictions, the airline has designed a limited network for the summer season to meet market demand for both holiday and business travel.

The offer will gradually be built up from June 15 onwards to reach 240 weekly flights by August, which represents 30% of the originally planned summer schedule in Europe and 40% of the long-haul program. In Europe, a total of 45 destinations will be served in 20 countries, including Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, France and Denmark. On its long haul network, the airline will (subject to local governmental approval) serve 13 out of its 17 African destinations and in the US New York JFK will join the schedule again. One new destination that was planned to be inaugurated in March, will join the network during the course of next year: Montreal in Canada.

The airline expects to welcome holidaymakers and customers visiting family and friends after the long lock-down period, but is also offering some important business destinations such as Berlin, Geneva and London.

Currently, and until the end of the week, the reservation systems will be updated with the new network. Only then will the new schedule be reflected in all the systems. Passengers whose flights change will be informed and guests can as of 2 June use the “My Booking” function on brusselsairlines.com to consult their new itinerary. Brussels Airlines apologizes if this process takes a couple of days. Due to the many changes in the network and the high amount of rebooking, the update of the reservation systems unfortunately takes some time.

In the months to come, the company plans to further expand its network beyond the summer. This schedule will be announced at the beginning of June.

Brussels Airlines continues its flexible reservations policy in order to offer its customers further options. Customers who had already booked a flight can still rebook it to another date and/or destination without change fees. Customers can postpone their travel plans until December 31, 2021.

In order to prepare for the planned restart, Brussels Airlines puts in place measures to protect its customers and staff during the travel journey, such as additional disinfection of the aircraft and the use of mouth masks. Several other measures are being evaluated together with the authorities and aviation experts.

“We are very much looking forward to restarting our activities and welcoming back our guests and part of our staff. We are taking all measures to protect them during their journey with us. This summer, we will start small to follow market demand, but we plan to expand our network from September onwards as demand rises again and restrictions are lifted. By the end of this year we hope to offer 50% of the flight schedule as planned before the coronavirus crisis broke out.

– Dieter Vranckx, CEO Brussels Airlines –

Creating a network in these unseen times is a feat. In this video below, Brussels Airlines offers a look behind the scenes at how a network is rebuilt from scratch.

Brussels Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Video:

Brussels Airlines plans to resume its flight operations with a reduced network on June 15

Brussels Airlines has made this announcement:

After more than seven weeks of hibernation mode, Brussels Airlines is planning to resume its operations as from  June 15, 2020. The Belgian home carrier plans to start with a reduced flight offer that will be built up in a phased approach according to the market demand and to the travel restrictions. While preparing its restart, Brussels Airlines will put in place every health protection measure necessary to protect its customers and staff during their travel journey. The network of the first weeks will be communicated in the days to come.

On March 21, 2020 Brussels Airlines had to cease its commercial flight operations as a consequence of the unprecedented coronavirus crisis. The airline plans to resume its commercial flight operations as from June 15, 2020. The complete destination portfolio and flight offer will be communicated in the days to come and will cater to the needs of the corporate as well as the leisure market, including a range of destinations in – amongst others –  Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Portugal and Spain.

In the months to come, the airline plans to offer a reduced network that will gradually be expanded in line with the evolution of the demand for flight tickets and following the travel restrictions imposed by the different countries Brussels Airlines operates to.

In order to prepare for the planned restart, Brussels Airlines puts in place measures to protect its staff and customers during the travel journey, such as additional disinfection of the aircraft and the use of mouth masks. Several other measures are being evaluated together with the authorities.

Brussels Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Brussels Airlines takes substantial and indispensable measures to ensure its survival

Brussels Airlines has made this announcement:

The extremely negative impact of the coronavirus crisis on the company’s financials and the ongoing very low demand for air travel urge Brussels Airlines to take substantial and indispensable measures to guarantee the survival of the company.

To grant a future for Brussels Airlines, the carrier needs to structurally reduce its costs to a competitive level.

In addition, to overcome the present unprecedented crisis, the company asks for support from both, its shareholder Lufthansa and the Belgian government.  Within its turnaround plan, Brussels Airlines is structurally tackling its cost structure and optimizes its network by cutting marginally profitable and unprofitable routes, resulting in a fleet reduction of 30%. The overall size of the company, and as a consequence of its workforce, will be 25% smaller.

As a socially responsible employer, Brussels Airlines will work together with its social partners to reduce the number of forced dismissals to an absolute minimum. The company is confident that with its turnaround plan it will be able to safeguard 75% of its employment and grow again in a profitable way as soon as the demand for air travel has recovered to a new normal, which is expected as of 2023. Achieving structural profitability is essential to secure the company’s future and new investments, while also being able to protect itself against possible new headwinds.

Across the world, the Coronavirus crisis is putting unprecedented pressure on airlines with a total revenue impact expected to exceed €240 billion. Incoming bookings dropped by more than 60% and cancellations reached record heights. As a consequence, many airlines across Europe and beyond are obliged to go for massive job cuts. Brussels Airlines is unfortunately not spared by the crisis. Since the temporary suspension of all its flights (starting on March 21), the company loses one million euro a day due to revenue losses and costs that cannot not be avoided, such as aircraft leasing and maintenance costs.

On February 28, 2020 the company announced for the first time an impact on the demand for air travel. The situation deteriorated week by week, with days where the number of cancellations exceeded the number of incoming bookings. Still today, demand is very low and according to analysts and experts, demand for air travel in 2021 is expected to be 25% lower than before the crisis and the industry can only count on a demand back at 2019-levels by earliest 2023.

“We started the year 2020 with positive results in terms of number of passengers and revenues; and for this summer, we planned a strong leisure offer as we could compensate part of the business we lost due to the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook Belgium. But the Coronavirus pandemic is hitting Brussels Airlines extremely hard. We had no other choice than to temporarily suspend our flights as of March 21st and introduce technical unemployment for the entire company. This unprecedented crisis has worsened our financial situation obliging us to take substantial and indispensable measures. The restructuring is urgently needed in order to survive the current crisis and to become structurally competitive in the future”

– Dieter Vranckx, CEO of Brussels Airlines –

 

A turnaround plan focussing on the survival of the company and creating the base for structural profitability

The Brussels Airlines management presents today its turnaround plan to the social partners. With the plan, the Belgian airline wants to pull the company out of the crisis that severely hit the financials of Brussels Airlines. At the same time, the airline focuses on structural profitability in order to enable solid growth. The carrier therefore needs to reduce its overall costs, increase efficiency and productivity.

A sufficiently positive EBIT margin will allow the airline to secure its future, invest in its fleet and to further develop its hub at Brussels Airport. Furthermore, the Belgian home carrier will make sure to continue playing a pivotal role for the Belgian economy and to remain one of the core airlines within the Lufthansa Group.

The main measures of the turnaround plan are:

  • The review of the network by focusing on the market needs and by optimizing the route profitability.
  • The adaptation of the fleet according to the network optimization: from 54 to 38 aircraft (-30%)
  • The reduction of the personnel costs by reducing the number of jobs by 25%
  • Together with the social partners, the number of forced redundancies will be reduced to a maximum extent.
  • The reduction of overhead, operational costs and the increase of operational efficiency, among others by improving productivity and further standardizing the fleet.
  • The simplification of the employee reward set-up, aiming at remaining an attractive employer while controlling the future cost evolution.

Brussels Airlines’ intention is to investigate as many solutions as possible to limit the number of forced dismissals. The company therefor invites its social partners to assess together all alternative measures allowing to reduce the social impact to a maximum extent; measures like seasonal contracts, pensions, part-time work, unpaid leave, volunteers who would seek their future elsewhere – to name just some options.

“The strength of our company are our employees and we do everything we can to protect our staff as much as possible. The way how we deal with the social impact is for us as important as the end goal itself. It’s the management’s responsibility to make sure that our company can survive the crisis. But let’s be clear, the intention is not only to survive but to build a healthy company with a long-term structural profitability and growth perspectives. We strongly believe in the plan and herewith in the future of Brussels Airlines.”

– Dieter Vranckx, CEO of Brussels Airlines –

While the turnaround plan is indispensable to overcome the crisis, the ongoing discussions with both the Belgian government and Lufthansa remain essential. The Belgian home carrier hopes for a positive outcome of the talks with the Belgian authorities on the financial support that is needed to overcome the consequences of this unprecedented crisis, while it seeks for assistance of Lufthansa for the restructuring costs.

Brussels Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Brussels Airlines further extends the temporary suspension of its flights

Brussels Airlines has made this announcement:

  • The ongoing travel restrictions around the world and the continued low to no demand resulting hereof, obliges Belgium’s home carrier to extend the temporary suspension of its operations by another two weeks. As a consequence, flight operations will not restart before June 1st
  • Customers have the time until August 31, 2020 to rebook their tickets to a new departure date and/or other destination. Travel can be postponed until April 30, 2021. More information can be found on http://www.brusselsairlines.com
  • The Belgian carrier keeps capacity standby for possible additional repatriation flights and the transport of humanitarian freight
  • To restart its operations, Brussels Airlines works on a reduced but stable flight offer that will gradually be increased following the evolution of the demand
  • Temporary technical unemployment for all 4.200 Brussels Airlines employees will be extended in line with the temporary suspension of its flight operations.
The worldwide Coronavirus crisis and the ongoing travel restrictions imposed by many countries around the world, oblige Brussels Airlines to further postpone the restart of its operations, which was planned for May 15th. The airline has now decided to extend the temporary suspension of its flights until May 31st . Customers who have provided their phone number or e-mail address during the booking process will be automatically informed about changes in the flight programme. Furthermore, an extensive goodwill policy for customers is in place, offering passengers the opportunity to postpone their travel plans until latest 30 April 2021. In line with the extension of the flight suspension and a gradual restart of its operations, Brussels Airlines will prolong the temporary technical unemployment for the entire company.

Brussels Airlines today decided to extend the temporary suspension of all its flights. Until May 31, 2020 the airline will focus on possible additional repatriation flights and the transport of cargo.

“Based on currently available figures, the aviation industry expects only a gradual recovery of the demand for air travel. For that reason, we also plan a phased build-up of our network and flight offer. The world of travel after the Coronavirus crisis will look different from before. We are preparing ourselves to make sure that we are ready for this new reality. When the world is ready to fly again, we will be too.”

Dieter Vranckx, CEO Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Brussels Airlines to remain grounded until at least May 15

Brussels Airlines has extended its grounding until at least May 15:

Given the extraordinary circumstances caused by the worldwide Coronavirus crisis, we are unfortunately obliged to extend the temporary suspension of our flights. Our flight operations won’t restart before May 15th.

While we temporarily suspend our flights, our colleagues at Maintenance & Engineering are working hard so that our aircraft will be in top shape to welcome you on board once we’re able to start flying again!

Brussels Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Brussels Airlines temporarily suspends all its flights as of March 21

Brussels Airlines has made this announcement:

Given the extraordinary circumstances caused by the worldwide Coronavirus crisis, Brussels Airlines has decided to temporarily suspend its flight operations from March 21, 2020. Between now and then, Brussels Airlines’ flight operations will be reduced gradually in a controlled and structured manner in order to bring passengers and crews home.

The decision of Brussels Airlines to temporarily suspend all its flights between March 21 and April 20 has also been taken following the measures imposed by different authorities, such as the negative travel advice of the Belgian authorities, which Brussels Airlines fully understands, and the increasing number of national authorities in Europe and beyond who no longer allow flights to their territory.

As of March 17, the airline will gradually reduce its flight schedule until March 20. From March 21 until April 19 included, all flights will be suspended. A continued and extended goodwill policy for customers is in place, offering them the opportunity to reschedule their flights to a later date.

All intercontinental departures to Africa, will as of March 17 be postponed to the afternoon, for connectivity reasons with the short haul network.

The Belgian carrier will continue to keep a minimal capacity on standby base for repatriation flights should this be required.

The spread of the coronavirus and associated flight bans and other measures restricting air connectivity imposed by many countries around the world, have already severely and negatively impacted Brussels Airlines’ flight schedules in the past few days, as well as its financial situation. Therefore the airline is in discussion with the government with regards to support.

Temporary technical unemployment for all Brussels Airlines employees

Brussels Airlines employees are already working in a 30% temporary technical unemployment regime since 16 March. Together with its social partners, the company is working on the expansion of the partial temporary technical unemployment to 100% for the period of the temporary flight suspension. Some exceptions to the full temporary unemployment will be made to cover the repatriation flights and the restart of the operations.

Extensive goodwill policies for customers

Passengers on flights that were planned within the next days and are cancelled due to the current extraordinary situation are automatically rebooked. Brussels Airlines asks passengers with a flight now until Friday to check the status of their rebooking at brusselsairlines.com under “My Booking”. Customers who have provided their telephone number or e-mail address during the booking process, as well as members of the frequent flyer programme Miles & More, will be automatically informed about changes in the flight programme by SMS or e-mail.

Passengers whose scheduled flights do not take place in the next 7 days are requested to refrain from contacting the Service Center in the coming days. This way, they give the service center agents the opportunity to first take care of those customers who have a prompt departure.

As announced last week, Brussels Airlines is offering all passengers an extended goodwill arrangement: Passengers have time until June 1 to decide on a new travel date and, if they choose, to change their ticket to a different destination.

Brussels Airlines Head of Customer Service Tanguy Cartuyvels asks all customers for patience: “Our colleagues do their best to deal with our customers’ questions as quickly as possible. However, due to the high volume of enquiries there are longer waiting times. I therefore ask for your patience, but rest assured that we will not let anyone down: all customer enquiries will be processed.

Brussels Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Brussels Airlines announces additional flight cancellations for March and a reduced timetable for April 2020

Brussels Airlines has made this announcement:

  • The airline adapts its flight offer following national governments travel restrictions
  • Additional flight cancellations in March
  • Structurally reduced timetable for the month of April (-45%)
  • Brussels Airlines to adapt its flight offer to and from the US as of 14 March
  • First economic measures launched for employees across the entire company

Network Updates

Due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the spread of the coronavirus, Brussels Airlines is forced to cancel additional flights for the month of March and to operate a reduced flight schedule in the month of April. With this measure, the Belgian airline adapts her offer to reflect the travel restrictions imposed by many countries around the world, leading also to a severe decline in demand for air travel.

In total, Brussels Airlines reduces its flight offer in March by 35% and in April by 45%.

Following the recent announcement of the US Department of Homeland Security on travel restrictions to the US, Brussels Airlines has no other option than temporarily suspending all its flights to New York JFK as from March 14, 2020 until further notice.

Until further notice, the Belgian airline continues operating its four weekly frequencies to Washington. New York continues to be served by other airlines within the Lufthansa Group, via Frankfurt and Zurich.

Due to government travel restrictions to/from Israel and Italy, Brussels Airlines is forced to temporarily suspend all flights to and from these countries until respectively 28 March and 3 April.

The flight cancellations are being implemented in the booking systems. Passengers whose flight is cancelled will be informed of the changes and rebooking options throughout the day.

Flight schedule adjustments for the period after April 30, 2020 will be decided at a later date with the aim to offer Brussels Airlines guests a reduced, but stable flight plan in the weeks to come.

Economic measures

As a consequence of the dramatic coronavirus outbreak and the reduction of its flight offer, Brussels Airlines launches first economic measures for its personnel to limit the negative financial impact on the company. The Belgian airline launches partial temporary technical unemployment across the entire company as of March 16, 2020.

Brussels Airlines aircraft photo gallery: