Tag Archives: Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines expands its schedule to Africa

Brussels Airlines has made this announcement:

  • Brussels Airlines to operate 42 medium haul routes and 16 long haul routes during the winter season 2020/2021 (October 25 until March 27)
  • Up till 40% more flights to and from Africa
  • Extra flights during winter holidays to Banjul, Bujumbura, Dakar, Douala, Entebbe, Freetown, Kigali, Kinshasa, Monrovia and Yaoundé
  • Daily flights to Abidjan
 

Intercontinental network

At the start of the winter season, 14 destinations will be included in the airline’s intercontinental offer, with a sole focus on Africa. The airline will expand its offer with 12% as of October 25, 2020 . As of this winter, Brussels Airlines will fly to Abidjan on a daily base. During winter holidays, extra frequencies will be added to Banjul, Bujumbura, Dakar, Douala, Entebbe, Freetown, Kigali, Kinshasa, Monrovia and Yaoundé.  During this peak period, running from the beginning of December until the beginning of January, the airline will offer 40% more flights compared to September/October 2020. In February 2021, also Luanda and New York JFK are planned to be added to the network.

All destinations and frequencies of the intercontinental network are listed below.

Short and medium-haul network

New in the airline’s portfolio is the brand new Berlin Brandenburg Airport, to which it will move its Berlin flights as from November 8. During the holiday periods in autumn, winter and the spring break, Brussels Airlines will operate extra flights to European holiday destinations Alicante, Gran Canaria, Faro, Malaga, Lisbon and Tenerife. Next to these most popular destinations, the airline offers a variety of sunny holiday and beautiful winter destinations, including Catania and Lanzarote but also Kraków and Oslo.

Refunds

Beginning of September, Brussels Airlines announced that it will reimburse every passenger who is entitled to a refund and to accelerate the refund process, with a vast majority of the pending refund requests expected to be resolved by the end of October. At present, the airline has executed over 50% of the delayed refund cases.

Flexible booking conditions

The Belgian airline continues to offer its passengers maximum rebooking flexibility. Passengers holding a Brussels Airlines ticket booked before August 25th, who wish to postpone their travels or whose flight was cancelled, are able 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.

Additional frequencies on the intercontinental network

Destination September/October Winter season Peak period (December until January)
Abidjan 6 7 7
Accra 2 3 3
Banjul 1 2 3
Bujumbura 1 1 1
Cotonou 2 2 2
Dakar 5 5 6
Douala 3 3 4
Entebbe 2 2 3
Freetown 2 3 4
Kigali 1 1 2
Kinshasa 3/4 4 6
Lome 2 2 2
Monrovia 2 3 4
Yaounde 3 3 4
    +12% +40%

Brussels Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

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.

EU Commission approves the Brussels Airlines stabilization package

On July 24, 2020 Brussels Airlines announced that it had reached an agreement with the Belgian Federal Government and Lufthansa to secure the future of Belgium’s home carrier and herewith the long-term development of the airline through a stabilization package. On August 17, 2020 the package was approved by the German Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF).
Today the EU Commission has also given its approval.

The stabilization package of 460 million euro – €290 million from the Belgian Federal government and €170 million from Lufthansa – covers in part the losses incurred by Brussels Airlines due to the crisis and secures at the same time tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs that are linked to the activities of Brussels Airlines. Thanks to the package, the airline can finance its turnaround plan and herewith create a long-term and structurally profitable future.

 

Dieter Vranckx, CEO of Brussels Airlines: “With this news, we finally conclude the three pillars of our survival and long-term competitiveness. We are relieved that the execution of the financial transaction can take place. We will now shift all our focus towards a timely implementation of our turnaround plan Reboot Plus. Thanks to the support and trust we receive from our shareholder Lufthansa, the Belgian government and from all our employees, we can create a strong and competitive Brussels Airlines with long-term perspectives, an important engine for the Belgian economy. For that, I sincerely thank all involved parties.”

Brussels Airlines reports first-half loss of EUR 182 million due to coronavirus pandemic

Brussels Airlines has releases this report:

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic and its unprecedented impact on the aviation sector, Brussels Airlines reports a loss of EUR -182 million in the first six months of 2020, despite the drastic cost-control measures taken to combat the crisis. First half revenues fell to EUR 252 million, 63% below their prior-year level. (H1 2019: EUR 684 million). Brussels Airlines transported 67% fewer passengers between January and June and the seat load factor dropped by 7.4 percentage points to 72.4%.

The coronavirus, which brought aviation worldwide to a standstill within a few weeks’ time, had a dramatic impact on the financial results of Brussels Airlines in the first half year of 2020.Brussels Airlines temporarily suspended all scheduled flights from 21 March to 14 June 2020. Minimal flight capacities were maintained for repatriating Belgian and German citizens, to transport medical equipment to Africa and to bring medical masks from China. On 15 June, the airline finally relaunched its commercial flights again, with a limited network.

As a result, the airline reports an adjusted EBIT of EUR -182 million for the first six months of the year (H1 2019: EUR -36 million). The EBIT decreased to EUR -211 million (previous year: EUR -36 million). The difference compared with the adjusted EBIT is due to write-downs of EUR 29 million on right-of-use assets consisting of two Airbus A330-200s and eight Airbus A319s already in the first quarter.

Revenues were down by 63%, from EUR 684 million to EUR 252 million. Brussels Airlines transported 1,590,448 passengers between January and June, compared to 4,854,603 last year. 14,114 flights were operated, a 64% decline compared to the 39,267 flights in the first half of 2019. The seat load factor dropped 7.4 percentage points from 79.8% to 72.4%.

In response to the crisis, Brussels Airlines took immediate and drastic actions not only to reduce variable costs but also to reduce fixed costs (technical unemployment for staff; stopping all temporary contracts; supplier negotiations; stop of all projects and investments…). The total operating expenses decreased by 39% to EUR 463 million, primarily due to the volume-related decline and measures in the cost of materials and services.

The turnaround program Reboot Plus, which was already planned before the coronavirus crisis hit, is now being further intensified as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. With Reboot Plus, 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 become 25% smaller. 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. To reach its target of increased competitiveness and structural profitability, Brussels Airlines takes several measures; such as negotiations with lessors to reduce its fleet size; cost reductions through supplier negotiations; simplification and automation of processes; increase of efficiency at the level of operations and product alignment with the Lufthansa Group network airlines.

In line with its restructuring plan, and to overcome the current crisis, the company recently reached two major milestones. First, an agreement could be reached with its social partners concerning the turnaround of the company, which foresaw the reduction of 1000 jobs within the company. Thanks to alternative measures, to which the employees could subscribe, the number of forced dismissals is limited to 60. Secondly, the Belgian Government and Lufthansa agreed on a stabilization package to help Brussels Airlines overcome the unprecedented crisis and to become structurally profitable.

Since resuming flight operations on 15 June, the airline has slowly and gradually been increasing its flight operations again for both holidaymakers and business travellers, in line with market demand and taking into account the constantly changing travel restrictions.

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

 

Brussels Airlines               

Jan-Jun 20 Jan-Jun 2019 Change
in %
Revenue €m 252 684 -63
Operating expenses €m 463 757 -39
Adjusted EBITDA €m -119 32
Adjusted EBIT €m -182 -36 -406
EBIT €m -211 -36 -486
Employees as of 31.06 number 3,729 3,875 -3
Flights number 14,114 39,267 -64
Passengers thousands 1,590 4,855 -67
Available Seat-kilometres millions 3,834 10,528 -64
Revenue Seat Kilometres millions 2,776 8,402 -67
Passenger Load Factor % 72.4 79.8 -7.4 pts

These figures are excluding the Brussels Airlines operations out of Düsseldorf.

Brussels Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Brussels Airlines aircraft slide show:

https://airlinersgallery.smugmug.com/frame/slideshow?key=BVfgNz&speed=3&transition=fade&autoStart=1&captions=0&navigation=0&playButton=0&randomize=0&transitionSpeed=2

Brussels Airlines optimizes its short-haul product

Brussels Airlines has made this announcement:

Brussels Airlines optimizes its short-haul product and herewith closer aligns with the Lufthansa Group Network Airlines to offer its customers an even smoother travel experience. This way, the Belgian hub airline can participate in future Group-wide innovations. At the same time, the Belgian company chooses to continue to highlight its Belgian identity and promote Belgian partners. Five new travel fares will be available for bookings as from August 18 for flights as of September 1, 2020.

By introducing the Lufthansa Group travel fares on its short- and medium haul network, Brussels Airlines wants to offer its guests a smooth and consistent travel experience throughout all Lufthansa Group Network Airlines (Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa and Swiss). With three new Economy Class fares, two Business Class fares and several add-ons, guests can tailor their travel to their preferences. By implementing Lufthansa Group standards, the Belgian airline will benefit too from investments by the Group in IT, product development and passenger experience. Brussels Airlines continues its buy-on-board concept* with delicious, healthy and fresh food from partners such as Foodmaker.The airline offers three different options in Economy Class:

  • Economy Light, the basic fare as lowest price option for the cost-conscious traveler who flies with hand luggage only, requiring limited flexibility.
  • Economy Classic, the standard fare for those who wish to travel with the classic comforts included in the price of their ticket, like a 23kg checked baggage and a limited degree of flexibility.
  • Economy Flex offers travelers a high degree of flexibility when organizing their travels, with a free change of reservation.

In all medium- and long-haul Economy Class fares, across the entire Lufthansa Group, 8kg carry-on baggage is included on top of a small personal item, so connecting flights across the Group Network Airlines are standardized.

Next to three Economy fares, the airline continues to offer the exclusive comfort of Business Class, with two different fares, tailored to the needs of business guests:

  • Business Saver: for guests who want to travel with Business Class comfort, requiring a certain degree of flexibility
  • Business Flex: for guests that want all Business Class comfort and full flexibility, including free refund

Both Business Class fares include two pieces of carry-on luggage of 8kg on top of a personal item.

Since the coronavirus crisis and as part of the new customer experience, all payments during the guests’ journey will be cashless. This concerns the payments at the airport for excess baggage as well as all payments on board.

Independent of which fare is chosen, seating together is included, and so is the caring service of Brussels Airlines’ ground staff and cabin crew. All new travel fares are eligible for rebooking.

Brussels Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Brussels Airlines aircraft slide show:

https://airlinersgallery.smugmug.com/frame/slideshow?key=BVfgNz&speed=3&transition=fade&autoStart=1&captions=0&navigation=0&playButton=0&randomize=0&transitionSpeed=2

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: