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EBA-2009-12 STAR ALLIANCE MEMBER
EBA-2013-12 - BELGIAN DEVILS
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EBA-CABIN ATTENDANTS NEW UNIFORMS 2012-05
STARTED OPERATIONS IN 1992. WAS ORIGINALLY FORMED AS "EUROBELGIAN AIRLINES" (EBA) WITH SHAREHOLDERS: CITY HOTELS (51%). (EBA) WAS ACQUIRED BY THE VIRGIN GROUP IN APRIL 1996 AND WAS SUBSEQUENTLY RENAMED "VIRGIN EXPRESS" IN NOVEMBER 1997. REGIONAL & INTERNATIONAL, SCHEDULED & CHARTER, PASSENGER & CARGO, JET AIRPLANE SERVICES.
B. HOUSE, BRUSSELS AIRPORT BUILDING 26
RINGBAAN 1831 DIEGEM, BELGIUM
BELGIUM (KINGDOM OF BELGIUM), WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1830, IT COVERS AN AREA OF 30,519 SQ KM, ITS POPULATION IS 10.1 MILLION, ITS CAPITAL CITY IS BRUSSELS, AND ITS OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ARE FLEMISH AND FRENCH.
JUNE 1995: TO BARCELONA, MADRID, MILAN, NICE, ROME, VIENNA, CANARY ISLANDS, & MEDITERRANEAN DESTINATIONS. 75% CHARTER BUSINESS.
2 ORDERS 737-800'S.
NOVEMBER 1995: 235 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 115 FLIGHT CREW (FC) & 5 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT)).
1 737-300 (CFM56-3B2), EX-TAESA (TES), & 1 737-400 (CFM56-3C1), EX-SOBELAIR (SBL).
MARCH 1996: VIRGIN ATLANTIC AIRWAYS (VAA) TAKES 80% STAKE IN EURO BELGIUM AIRLINES (EBA), BY +41% ($27 MILLION), IN CITY HOTELS, & 39% LUXEMBOURG NEI, FOR VIRTUAL CONTROL, AS THE FOUNDATION FOR "VIRGIN EUROPEAN," WITH EX-CONTINENTAL AIRLINES (CAL) JONATHAN ORNSTEIN, PRESIDENT OF THE LOW-COST CARRIER (LCC).
APRIL 1996: VIRGIN ATLANTIC AIRWAYS (VAA) FINAL DEAL BUYS 90%, OWNS EURO BELGIUM AIRLINES (EBA) FOR ($62 MILLION). LEAVES 10% OWNERSHIP BY CITY HOTELS, & LUXEMBOURG HOLDING COMPANY "NEI."
JONATHON ORNSTEIN, MANAGING DIRECTOR/(CEO).
NEW NAME MAY BE "VIRGIN EXPRESS" (EBA) OR "VIRGIN CHARTER AIRLINES"?
1 737-300 (CFM56-3B2), EX-(NOE). $90 MILLION, 2 ORDERS (JANUARY 1997) 737-400'S.
JUNE 1996: ROME TO MADRID (737-300), AS VIRGIN EXPRESS.
JULY 1996: RUMORS THAT CITY HOTELS MAY LAUNCH A "NO FRILLS" 767 TRANSATLANTIC AIRLINE, CALLED "CITY BIRD" - (CBD), WITH VICTOR HASSON, (EBA), AS PRESIDENT, & LODE KOTELE, AIR BELGIUM (ABL), AS TECHNICAL DIRECTOR.
AUGUST 1996: 2 737-300'S (CFM56-3C1) DELIVERIES.
SEPTEMBER 1996: DOING WELL INTO COPENHAGEN, BUT PROBLEMS INTO GENEVA OVER LANDING RIGHTS, PREVIOUSLY AGREED AS BELGIUM OPERATOR (TO PROTECT THE FLAG CARRIERS).
2 737-300 DELIVERIES. BRITISH AIRWAYS (BAB) MAINTENANCE CONTRACT FOR 2 737-400'S.
OCTOBER 1996: SINCE SABENA (SAB) IS LOSING MONEY TO LONDON, VIRGIN EXPRESS (EBA) WET-LEASED (SAB) 737-300'S, & ALSO OWNS 52% OF EUROSTAR, THE HIGH-SPEED TRAIN = 52% OF TRAFFIC ON BRUSSELS - LONDON ROUTE, BY LAND & AIR.
1 737-300 (CFM56-3C1), EX-(STU).
NOVEMBER 1996: BARCELONA TO ROME CIAMPINO (737-300). POSSIBLE $1.1 BILLION 25 ORDERS 737-700'S.
JANUARY 1997: 2 737-400'S DELIVERIES (23980, 24314), EX-ASIANA AIRLINES (AAR).
FEBRUARY 1997: 1 737-300 (CFM56-3B2), EX-AIR ATLANTA ICELANDIC (AID).
APRIL 1997: 257 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 250 FLIGHT CREW (FC) & 7 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT)).
MAY 1997: 1 737-430 (27000), EX-(DLH), ADRIENNE LEASED. 1 737-200 (JT8D-15), EX-(EJT).
JUNE 1997: 1 A320 (V2500) (543), AEROCONTINENTE (COH) WET-LEASED 6 MONTHS.
OCTOBER 1997: VIRGIN EXPRESS(EBA) WAS PURCHASED BY VIRGIN TRAVEL LTD, WHO OWN VIRGIN ATLANTIC AIRWAYS (VAA), AND OPERATES AS A SEPARATE AIRLINE.
TO GIVE 500 EMPLOYEES, $4 MILLION IN STOCK = $8,000/PERSON.
NOVEMBER 1997: 3RD QUARTER = +$7.2 MILLION (NET PROFIT): 992,000 PASSENGERS (PAX); 76.9% LF (LOAD FACTOR) (+5). 1ST 9 MONTHS = +$10.2 MILLION (X2): 2.24 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX).
OFFICIALLY CONFIRMED RENAMED AIRLINE AS "VIRGIN EXPRESS."
ROME (FIUMICINO) - ATHENS - THESSALONIKI.
1 737-36M (28670), (GUI) LEASED. 2 737-4YO'S (23980 & 24314) RETURNED FROM AIR PROVENCE CHARTER.
DECEMBER 1997: SINCE STARTING "SOUTHWEST AIRLINES (SWA)-TYPE" OPERATIONS IN EUROPE, LAST YEAR, TO BARCELONA, MADRID, NICE & MILAN, IT HAS STIMULATED TRAFFIC +21%, ON THOSE ROUTES - VIRGIN EXPRESS (EBA) HAS 80%.
JANUARY 1998: (http://www.virgin-exp.com).
FEBRUARY 1998: 1 A320, TRANSAER (TSD) WET-LEASED FOR 7 MONTHS, TO COVER LONGER ROUTES, 737 CANNOT OPERATE, WITHOUT TECHNICAL STOPS. 1 + 1 ORDER 737-36N (28568; 28571), (GEH) LEASED.
MARCH 1998: TO COMBAT BRITISH AIRWAYS (BAB)'S NEW "GO" (GFL), LOW-FARE OPERATOR, VIRGIN EXPRESS (EBA) INCREASES ITS CODE SHARE WITH SABENA (SAB) TO HEATHROW, GATWICK, ROME, & BARCELONA, AND ALSO USES STANSTED, TO BRUSSELS (EBA) AIRPLANES).
MAY BUY 17% OF (SAB). BEGINS OPERATIONS FROM NICE UNDER "VIRGIN EXPRESS FRANCE" NAME, USING AIR PROVENCE CHARTER (IT ACQUIRED IN 1996). AIR PROVENCE CHARTER DESCRIBES ITSELF AS A SUBSIDIARY OF (EBA), WITH A FLEET OF 2 ORDERS 737-800'S, (EBA) HAS OPTIONS FOR THE 737-800'S IN 2000).
VIRGIN EXPRESS FRANCE'S BASE: PARIS CHARLES DE GAULLE (CDG). BEGAN TRADING ON NASDAQ EXCHANGE IN NEW YORK, LAST NOVEMBER 1997 AND STOCK HAS RISEN +60% FROM $15/SHARE ORIGINALLY TO $24.
1997 = +$7.3 MILLION (+$880,000): 2.92 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX). 4TH QUARTER = -$2 MILLION (-$2.85 MILLION): 67.7% LF LOAD FACTOR (+15.6).
JIM SWIGART, PRESIDENT & (CEO) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
APRIL 1998: 685 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 165 FLIGHT CREW (FC) & 8 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT)).
18TH 737-300 DELIVERY. 737-400 CONFIGURED 162 TO 170 PAX, CONVERTED AT BRITISH MIDLANDS ENGINEERING (BMA). 737-3Y0 (23924) LEASED TO SABRE AIRWAYS (SBE). 2 737-46M'S (28549, 28550) RETURNED FROM AIR TRANSAT (AIJ).
MAY 1998: ACQUIRES SABRE AIRWAYS (SBE).
BECAUSE OF HIGH TAXES AND SOCIAL SECURITY CHARGES IN BELGIUM, VIRGIN EXPRESS (EBA) MAY LEAVE ONLY HQ IN BELGIUM, BUT OPERATE OUT OF SUBSIDIARIES IN UK AND IRELAND. CUT-PRICE SERVICE, VIRGIN SUN, FROM UK TO MEDITERRANEAN. VIRGIN SUN WILL START OPERATIONS IN MAY 1999, WITH 2 737-800'S, ONE BASED IN MANCHESTER, & ONE IN LONDON GATWICK.
737-3YO (23925) LEASED TO SABRE AIRWAYS (SBE).
JUNE 1998: ACQUISITION OF (SBE), NEGOTIATIONS BROKE DOWN.
DON MONTEATH, (COO), EX-AMERICA WEST AIRLINES (AMW), & (TWA).
AUGUST 1998: APPLIES FOR IRISH AIR OPERATOR'S CERTIFICATE (AOC) TO ENABLE TRANSFER OF HQ & EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS TO IRELAND. INTENDS TO CONTINUE MOST OPERATIONS FROM BRUSSELS.
1ST 6 MONTHS = 1.6 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX).
DUE TO POOR RELIABILITY, RETURNS WET-LEASED L-1011. IN INTERIM, A DC-10 IS BEING LEASED FROM LAKER AIRWAYS (LAK).
SEPTEMBER 1998: WILL PROBABLY BASE ITS AIRPLANES AT SHANNON, BECAUSE OF CONGESTION AT DUBLIN. FINALIZES NEW SUBSIDIARY, VIRGIN EXPRESS (IRELAND) LTD. SHANNON TO STANSTED, IN DECEMBER 1998.
1 A320 (V2500) (430), (TSD) WET-LEASED, THROUGH 1ST QUARTER 1999.
OCTOBER 1998: SHANNON - LONDON (737-300).
2 ORDERS (DECEMBER 1998) 737-46Q'S, EX-(CHI), (GEH) LEASED, (28489). TRIED LEASING L-1011, FROM AER TURAS (YQT), BUT TOO MANY TECHNICAL/ENGINE PROBLEMS, SO REPLACED WITH DC-10-30, LEASED FROM LAKER AIRWAYS (LAK). A320-232 (760) RETURNED TO TRANSAER (TSD). 1 ORDER (APRIL 1999) A320-214 (978), GECAS (GEH) LEASED.
NOVEMBER 1998: 1 737-43Q (28489), BOULLIOUN (BOU) LEASED.
DECEMBER 1998: OPENS ITS NEW HQ IN SHANNON FOR VIRGIN EXPRESS (EBA) (IRELAND) & EXPECTS TO EMPLOY 100.
2 737-46M'S (28549; 28550) LEASED TO AIR TRANSAT (AIJ), FOR WINTER SEASON. 737-36M (28332), RETURNED TO (BOU). 1 ORDER (JANUARY 1999) 737-36N (3090). (EBA) (IRELAND), TAKES DELIVERY OF 737-400 (28493), FROM BOULLIOUN AVIATION SERVICES (BOU).
JANUARY 1999: 1 737-36N (28586), GECAS (GEH) LEASED.
FEBRUARY 1999: DON MONTEATH, (CEO), EBA (IRELAND).
MARCH 1999: 4TH QUARTER = -$1.4 MILLION: 72.1% LF LOAD FACTOR (+4.4), INDICATING BREAKEVEN IS STILL HIGHER. 1998 = +$1.3 MILLION: 2.6 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX), & 670,000 PASSENGERS WITH CHARTER OPERATIONS.
2 737-405'S (24270; 24271), BRAATHENS (BRT) 5 YEAR LEASED.
APRIL 1999: 1,000 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 200 FLIGHT CREW (FC), 400 CABIN ATTENDANTS (CA), & 18 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT)).
737-405 (24271) LEASED TO SOBELAIR (SBL), TIL NOVEMBER 1999.
MAY 1999: 2 737-46M'S RETURNED FROM AIR TRANSAT (AIJ). 1 ORDER (JUNE 1999) A300B4-203 (158, EI-TLL) TRANSAER (TSD) LEASED, TIL NOVEMBER 1999. 737-36M (28333, EI-TVO) LEASED TO (EBA) IRELAND.
JUNE 1999: 737-3M8 (25041, EI-TVP), TRANSFERRED TO (EBA) IRELAND. 1 ORDER (JANUARY 2000) 737-4YO (24688) TO (EBA) IRELAND.
AUGUST 1999: JIM SWIGART, SAID HE WILL LEAVE THE (CEO) JOB BY THE END OF 1999.
1ST 6 MONTHS = 1.91 BILLION (RPK) TRAFFIC (+18.1%), 1.87 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX) (+17.2%).
IN NOVEMBER 1999, NONSTOP BERLIN TO STANSTED, ROME, AND BRUSSELS. IN 1998, CARRIED 3 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX) THROUGH ITS BRUSSELS HUB.
737-400 (24688), EX-FUTURA INTERNATIONAL (FUA), GECAS (GEH), 4 YEAR LEASED, FROM JANUARY 2000.
SEPTEMBER 1999: DAVID HOARE, CHAIRMAN REPLACES JONATHAN ORNSTEIN. JOHN OSBORNE, EX-GB AIRWAYS (GBA) EXECUTIVE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, REPLACES JIM SWIGART.
737-430 (27000), WAS INDIGO (INZ), NOW LEASED FROM OASIS.
OCTOBER 1999: IN DECEMBER 1999, SHANNON - BRUSSELS (737-300/-400).
NOVEMBER 1999: JOHN OSBORNE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, EX-GB AIRWAYS (GBA). DAVID HOARE, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN REPLACES JONATHAN ORNSTEIN, WHO RETIRED.
DECEMBER 1999: BELGIAN REGULATORY AUTHORITY, THREATENS TO REMOVE VIRGIN EXPRESS (EBA)'S AIR OPERATIONS LICENSE (AOC). IT IS NOT TOO PLEASED WITH (EBA) RELOCATING AIRPLANES AND CREWS TO IRELAND.
PLANS TO SEND 5 737'S IN JUNE 2000, FOR START-UP OF VIRGIN AUSTRALIA (VOZ). 100 PILOTS (FC) HAVE APPLIED TO FLY IN AUSTRALIA (MOSTLY DISGRUNTLED EX-QANTAS (QAN) & ANSETT (ANS) PILOTS (FC)).
FEBRUARY 2000: 3 YEAR MAINTENANCE CONTRACT TO SNECMA SABENA (SAB) ENGINE SERVICES FOR 737'S. 2 737-36N'S (2987-28568, EI-TVQ; 3022-28571, EI-TVR) TRANSFERRED TO (EBA) IRELAND. 1 737-4YO (1876-24688, EI-TVC), (GEH) LEASED FOR (EBA) IRELAND.
MARCH 2000: 2 YEARS AFTER STARTING E-TICKETING, 15% OF DIRECT BOOKINGS DONE ON THE INTERNET. BROKE 2M BARRIER IN DAILY INTERNET SALES.
1999 PRE-TAX = -$5.2 MILLION: DOUBLED FUEL COSTS & UNFAVORABLE EXCHANGE RATES: +13% PAX, 77% LF.
CLOSED ITS CHARTER OPERATIONS IN PARIS - VIRGIN EXPRESS FRANCE (PRN) AND NEW FOCUS CITY IS BERLIN, WITH STARTUP SERVICES TO BRUSSELS, LONDON STANSTED, AND ROME ACHIEVING LF AHEAD OF EXPECTATIONS.
1999 = 1.13 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX).
1 737-36N (3022-28571, EI-TVR), TRANSFERRED TO (EBA) IRELAND.
MAINTENANCE CONTRACT FOR 22 737'S, TO FLS AEROSPACE (ATD). 1 737-36N (2948-28670, EI-TVS) FOR EBA IRELAND.
APRIL 2000: 1999 = -#E2.8 MILLION (+#E.7 MILLION).
IN 5/00, SHANNON - LONDON GATWICK (LGW).
1,300 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 250 FC, 500 CA, & 25 MT).
MAIN BASE: BRUSSELS NATIONAL AIRPORT.
HUBS: BERLIN SCHONEFELD, ROME FIUMICINO, & LONDON STANSTED.
MAY 2000: INTENDS TO STOP SCHEDULED CHARTER FLIGHTS IN 10/00. FAILS TO RENEW CONTRACT WITH (NUR) TOURISTIC GROUP. TO FOCUS ON AD HOC CHARTER MARKET, "WHERE WE CAN MAKE A PROFIT."
737-43Q (2827-28489), LEASED TO VIRGIN BLUE (VOZ).
JUNE 2000: 11 ORDERS (7/01) 737-700'S (CFM56-7B), 8 (GEH) 8 YEAR LEASED, 3 (ILF) 8 YEAR LEASED.
JULY 2000: (http://www.virgin-express.com).
AUGUST 2000: PLANS BY 10/00, TO DISCONTINUE SCHEDULED CHARTERS, AND USE 4 AIRPLANES FOR NEW ROUTES/WET-LEASES.
SEPTEMBER 2000: 737-3YO (23922) RETURNED TO LESSOR.
OCTOBER 2000: TO MALAGA (737-300, 3/WEEK), 3RD SPANISH ROUTE.
NOVEMBER 2000: NEIL BURROWS, MANAGING DIRECTOR, REPLACES JOHN OSBORNE, WHO JOINED RYANAIR (RYR). NEIL WAS FOUNDER OF AIR 2000 (ATZ).
737-405 (1726-24270, OO-VEK), WET-LEASED TO CITY BIRD (CBD) AND 737-46M (2844-28549, OO-VEC) LEASED TO VIRGIN BLUE (VOZ). CANCELS 11 ORDERS 737-700'S.
NOVEMBER 2000: 1 737-36N (2948-28670, OO-VEX), RETURNED FROM VIRGIN EXPRESS IRELAND (VEI).
DECEMBER 2000: PLANS TO SELL ITS LOW-COST SUBSIDIARY, VIRGIN EXPRESS IRELAND (VEI). (VEI) WILL CEASE OPERATIONS IN 1/01.
JANUARY 2001: 2 737-36N'S (2987-28568, OO-VEG; 3022-28571, OO-VEH) RETURNED FROM (VEI).
MARCH 2001: 2000 = -$57.8 MILLION.
APRIL 2001: 971 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 250 FC, 500 CA, & 25 MT).
INTERNET BOOKINGS (+5.5%). 21.8% OF SALES (16%).
1 737-36N (28586) EX-VIRGIN IRELAND (VEI).
MAY 2001: 1 737-46M (2847-28550) RETURNED TO TOMBO (TOM).
JUNE 2001: FISCAL YEAR (FY) 2000 (EBA) HOLDINGS = -#3.8 MILLION EURO (-#13.8 MILLION). 1ST Q = 510.46 MILLION RPK (PASSENGER TRAFFIC), 615,000 PASSENGERS (PAX), +$434,000.
AUGUST 2001: HAD DROPPED CHARTER OPERATIONS AND CONCENTRATED ON SCHEDULED FLIGHTS.
SEPTEMBER 2001: TO LEASE +2 737-400'S FOR WINTER SEASON, 1 EX-SOBELAIR (SBL) & 1 EX-CITY BIRD (CBD).
NOVEMBER 2001: TO FARO, PORTUGAL (737-700, 2/WEEK). TO GENEVA & GOTEBORG (LANDVETTER)/ZURICH & TO STOCKHOLM (ARN).
JANUARY 2002: VIRGIN EXPRESS (EBA) IS NEGOTIATING A MERGER WITH DELTA AIR TRANSPORT (DAT), WHICH IS TAKING OVER FROM SABENA (SAB). LATER REACHED AN "AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE" TO MERGE.
2001 = 2.1 BILLION RPK (-15.8%); -24.4% ASK; 81.7% LF (+8.4); 2.42 MILLION PAX (-18.6%). +40% BUSINESS FROM SABENA (SAB).
FEBRUARY 2002: IN 3/02, TO ATHENS AND LISBON (737-300, DAILY).
MARCH 2002: MERGER AGREEMENT WITH SN BRUSSELS AIRLINES (DAT) BREAKS DOWN. WILL ONLY CONTINUE WITH COMMERCIAL ALLIANCE.
(email@example.com). SITA: BRUDTTV.
(TELEPHONE: (2) 752 05 11). (FAX: (2) 752 05 06).
APRIL 2002: 2001 = +$115,000/+#EUR 130,000 (-#EUR 65.2 MILLION).
WILL ADD ATHENS AND LISBON, IN SUMMER, AND WILL EXPAND FLEET BY LEASING 17 NEW AIRPLANES, IN NEXT 3 YEARS. AFTER REBUILDING ITS NETWORK IN BRUSSELS, WILL SET UP A 2ND EUROPEAN HUB.
MAIN BASE: BRUSSELS NATIONAL (BRU).
OWNER: VIRGIN EXPRESS HOLDINGS (100%).
HAD CUT FLEET FROM 23 AIRPLANES TO 13, STOPPED CHARTERS, AND SHUT ITS VIRGIN IRISH (VEI) OPERATIONS.
July 2002: 2001 = +$114,000 (-$57.38 MILLION): 2.2 BILLION RPK (-45.2%); 80.4% LF; 2.51 MILLION PAX (-34.3%); 741 EMPLOYEES (-38.9%). 1st 6 months = 1.25 BILLION RPK (+8.1%); 1.15 MILLION PAX (-9.3%).
In 12/02, to open a hub at Cologne/Bonn, to serve 4 European destinations, with 3 or 4 737-300/-400's.
September 2002: Abandons plans for a hub at Cologne/Bonn after several other budget airlines, such as TUI's Hapag Lloyd (HAP) and Eurowing's (RFG) GermanWings, formed too much, fierce competition.
October 2002: 2-year contract to Sabena Technics (SAB) with Virgin Express (EBA) for "C" checks on 14 737-300/-400's. (SAB) already has responsibility for component overhaul and engineering for (EBA)'s fleet.
November 2002: Will paint 4 737's to honor the 1st anniversary of radio station "Q Music."
January 2003: 2002 = 2.7 Million PAX (+14.1%).
In 3/03, Brussels - Bordeaux/Copenhagen/Gothenburg/Palma de Mallorca/Stockholm (ARN). Amsterdam (Schiphol) to Rome (Fiumicino) (daily), by agreement with Airtrade, operates under the brand name "BudgetAir", where Airtrade buys blocks of seats on flights to sell them to the public.
Signed contract with Aircraft Management Technologies (AMT) to implement (AMT)'s proprietary Electronic Flight Bag solution, "Flightman" fully on Virgin Express (EBA)'s entire fleet.
February 2003: From 3/03, will charge for on board snacks, to save about -# EUR 7 Million/-$7.52 Million/year. It intends to use the savings to offer lower prices.
In 3/03, Brussels - Bordeaux (daily). In 7/03, Brussels - Palma de Mallorca.
March 2003: Discontinues code share with SN Brussles Airlines (DAT) between Brussels and Scandinavia and switches to Malmo Aviation (TSW), to Copenhagen, Gothenburg, and Stockholm.
2002 = +# EUR 410,000/+$438,000 (+# EUR 130,000), despite the loss of its Sabena (SAB) contract, which accounted for 40% of its revenues in /01: 2.5 Million PAX; 80.7% LF (-1).
Intends to form a joint venture (JV) with French private shipping company, (CMA)/(CGM), and start a "value for money" low-fare airline, based at Paris Orly (ORY), using slots freed up by the failure of Air Lib (ALB).
737-43Q (2838-28493, OO-VES), returned from Virgin Blue (VOZ).
April 2003: Sets up an operating base at Paris Orly after being allocated 5,840 slots, previously held by defunct Air Lib (ALB). Certain is that Virgin Express (EBA) will not operate Paris - Bordeaux, since new (TGA) super-fast train takes 3 hours and offers fares as low as # EUR25/$29, which Neil Burrows, Managing Director, stated "We can't possibly compete."
In 5/03, code share with Air Luxor (LXA), Lisbon - Brussels, and Faro - Brussels. (LXA) will buy capacity on (EBA)'s 737-400, 164Y airplanes.
May 2003: In a surprise reversal, Virgin Express (EBA) decides to not set up a base at Paris Orly and hands back the offered 5,840 slots.
737-4YO (1667-23980) returned to (CIT) (TCI).
June 2003: 737 employees (including 102 (FC), 230 (CA), & 18 (MT)).
July 2003: Parent, Virgin Group, increases its stake in Virgin Express (EBA) from 60% to 88.6%.
2002 = +# EUR 410,000/+$438,000 (+ EUR 130,000/$147,000): 2.83 Billion RPK (+28.9%); +29.2% ASK; 80.2% LF (-.2); 2.47 Million PAX (-1.1%).
2002 TOP WORLD AIRLINES PASSENGER TRAFFIC RPK (Billion):
135 (CYP) 3.31; 136 (ETH) 3.29; 137 (GOT) 3.22; 138 (MWX) 3.19; 139 (ICE) 3.19; 140 (XIH) 3.14; 141 (IBW) 3.09; 142 (COP) 3.03; 143 (ALG) 2.98; 144 (DAT) 2.97; 145 (APC) 2.87; 146 (EBA) 2.84; 147 (LDI) 2.82; 148 (SIC) 2.82; 149 (MLT) 2.75; 150 (WLD) 2.69.
Code share with Air Luxor (LXA), Brussels - Lisbon and Brussels - Faro. Regained access to London through code share with Antwerp-based (VLM) Airlines at London City.
Opted to simplify its fare structure further to only two types: Virgin Value and Virgin Corporate.
August 2003: Intends to establish a base in Amsterdam for services to Athens, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Madrid, and Nice.
October 2003: Amsterdam - Milan (Linate) (daily).
November 2003: Recorded its 1-Millionth Internet booking in 2003 (55% of total) vs 649,400 in all of 2002.
December 2003: Brussels - Oslo (3/day).
January 2004: 4th Q = -# EUR 9.6 Million (-# EUR 247,000). 2003 = -# EUR 19.6 Million/-$24.58 Million (+# EUR 0.4 Million/+$430,000): 3.30 Billion RPK (+16.4%); -11% ASK; 80.9% LF (+.7); 2.53 Million PAX (+2.5%); from being plagued by disruptions caused by the Iraq war, unprecedented price discounting by network operators in order to fill their excess capacity, and competition from low-fare carrier Ryanair (RYR).
John Bartlett, Head of Safety Systems.
Dismissed 60 employees.
Will reduce its fleet to 11 airplanes when 2 737-400's are returned to their lessors when their leases expire in 2/04 & 5/04.
March 2004: Agrees to merge with SN Brussels Airlines (DAT), and will become a minority shareholder in the combined company.
May 2004: Code share with SN Brussels (DAT), Brussels - Copenhagen.
737-430 (27000) returned to Oasis Leasing.
June 2004: Selected the ProfitLine/Yield Rembrandt revenue management system from Lufthansa (DLH) Systems.
(ACSS), an (L-3) Communications (ESM) and Thales (THL) company, earned another 5 (STC)'s for (T2CAS), its combined traffic & terrain avoidance system. The (STC)'s enable the new product to be used in revenue service at AeroMexico (AMX) for 7 757's & 5 767's, Air Atlanta Icelandic (AID) for 4 757's, European Air Transport (EPT) for 35 757's, and Virgin Express (EBA) for 9 737's.
August 2004: Includes a new online booking feature that allows passengers to reserve aisle or window seats with additional legroom, guaranteed for +# EUR 10/$+$12/one-way flight.
Received repayment of a loan of # EUR 12.7 Million from Virgin Ireland (VEI) and in turn repaid Virgin Holdings (VAA). The exercise cleans its balance sheet in order for it to merge with SN Brussels Airlines (DAT), giving Virgin Express Holdings (VAA) the possibility to own 29.9% of the capital of SN Air Holding (DAT).
October 2004: Signed binding agreement to create a single airline group from the merger of Virgin Express (EBA) and SN Brussels Airlines (DAT). Virgin Express Holdings will hold 29.9% of SN Air, while the current shareholders of SN Air will receive a majority 70.1% share. Virgin Express Holdings has an option to sell its stake in SN Air for # EUR 54 Million/$66.3 Million. SN Air has an equivalent option to buy out Virgin Express Holdings stake for # EUR 75 Million. (EBA) will be allowed to continue using its own brand name for 2 years.
In 12/04, Brussels - Valencia.
March 2005: 2004 = -EUR 7.3 Million/-$9.5 Million (-EUR 19.6 Million): -17% (RPK) traffic; -5.4 LF load factor; -27% Maintenance; +7% Fuel Costs. 4th Quarter = -EUR 4.5 Million (-EUR 9.6 Million).
April 2005: In 2005 - 2006, Brussels to Toulon (3/week).
Virgin Express (EBA) completes merger with SN Brussels (DAT) with (DAT) emerging as the full-service airline and (EBA) targeting the low-cost market. The Virgin brand will be eliminated by 2007. SN Air now owns 100% of the shares in Virgin Express (EBA), and 92% of SN Brussels Airlines (DAT), the remaining 8% being held by Sabena (SAB) Interservice Center in liquidation.
May 2005: 737-33A (27455), returned to (AWW), leased to bmiBaby (BMI).
August 2005: Virgin Express (EBA) is a low-fare airline, operating scheduled services to European destinations from its Brussels base. The Belgian airline also operates ad hoc charters throughout Europe and the Mediterranean.
(IATA) Code: TV. (ICAO) Code: VEX (Callsign - VIRGIN EXPRESS).
Parent organization//shareholders: SN Brussels Airlines (DAT) (100%).
Main Base: Brussels National (BRU).
International, Scheduled Destinations: Amsterdam; Athens; Barcelona; Faro; Geneva; Lisbon; Madrid; Malaga; Milan; Nice; Palma de Mallorca; Rome, & Valencia.
September 2005: SN Airholding (DAT) reported an unaudited consolidated net profit of €15.2 million/$19 million for the 1st half ended June 30. The figures represent, after amortization of goodwill, the 6-month result of SN Brussels Airlines (DAT) and the 2nd quarter of Virgin Express (EBA) and its subsidiary Virgin Catering. The Virgin companies were integrated into SN Airholding as of April 1.
The net result includes financial gains of approximately €10 million owing to the dollar/euro exchange rate, a positive fuel hedging effect of about €4 million and €4.5 million related to an exceptional dividend paid by Sabena Interservice Center through aircraft lessors.
Revenue and operating result were not released, but the company stated that the common ownership of SN Brussels (DAT) and Virgin Express (EBA) resulted in approximately €12 million in synergies, mainly achieved during the 2nd quarter. "This clearly demonstrates the validity of the acquisition of Virgin Express," it added.
SN Brussels (DAT) also said that Executive Chairman Rob Kuijpers presented his "plan for a long-standing and sustainable development of the group" to the board of SN Airholding, which "after a 1st constructive review decided to revert on it later."
October 2005: Virgin Express named Ursula Silling commercial director. Silling previously worked as Commercial Director for Deutsche BA (DBA), Director Account Management for Lufthansa (DLH) Systems, and until recently, Commercial Director at Hapag Lloyd Express (HLX).
Virgin Express will discontinue service from Amsterdam to Rome on December 22nd. (DAT)/(EBA) will continue serving Rome from Brussels.
November 2005: Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) said Virgin Express (EBA) ordered 4 737-300 Blended Winglet shipsets, the 1st of which will be installed by Sabena Technics (SAB) in December. (DAT)/(EBA) leases its 737s from (GECAS) (GEF) but will purchase the winglets directly.
December 2005: Virgin Express (EBA) announced it would start 4 new routes in 2006, they are from Brussels to Copenhagen, Hamburg, Munich and Palermo.
January 2006: Virgin Express (EBA) will launch 2x-weekly Brussels - Palermo service from April 1.
The Board of SN Airholding appointed Virgin Express (EBA) (CEO) Neil Burrows as (CEO) of SN Brussels Airlines (DAT) and Virgin Express (EBA) for 1 year, ending months of speculation and growing uncertainty over the fate of the 2 Brussels-based carriers, which came under common ownership last year. "The Board of SN Airholding has expressed its concern about the risks that could rise for the Group in the event that some urgent decisions regarding the cooperation between SN Brussels Airlines (DAT) and Virgin Express (EBA) are not taken. Furthermore, such decisions can only be executed in an efficient way on condition that the management holds the necessary legitimacy and authority," SN Airholding noted. Burrows also was nominated as a Board Member of SN Airholding, replacing Rob Kuijpers and as President of the Executive Committee of the Group. Neil Burrows indicated he would be available for only 1 year, forcing SN Airholding to continue its search for a suitable successor.
February 2006: Virgin Express (EBA), which announced a new routes from Brussels to Palermo starting on Mar 29th with 2x-weekly, is now increasing the frequency to 3x-weekly from that date because of heavy demand. The airline will operate flights on Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Saturdays with a 737.
March 2006: Virgin Express will start services from Brussels to Palermo (3x-weekly), Bari (3x-weekly, increasing to 4x- in July and August) and Naples (4x-weekly, increasing to 5x- during July and August) with its summer schedule. All flights are aboard 737s.
April 2006: SN Brussels Airlines (DAT) and Virgin Express (EBA) announced they will merge into a single carrier with a new name and 2 distinct products, a basic service for price-sensitive passengers and an upgraded service for time-sensitive customers seeking greater convenience and flexibility. The new airline, expected to be in business by the start of the 2007 summer schedule, will expand its long-haul operations, most likely in North Atlantic but also in Africa, possibly through a stake in Cameroon Airlines (CAM). The group is in talks to replace its 3 280-seat A330s with 5 or 6 220-seat long-haul airplanes. "We will be a so-called 'new generation carrier' applying a modified traditional business model," said Neil Burrows, presently (CEO) of both SN (DAT) and Virgin Express (EBA). "Other [European] carriers have made this move very successfully over the years, most recently (SAS)."
By striking a balance between the low-cost and network models, the new airline aims to stake a leadership position in Europe through its influence at Brussels Airport, where it will control 40% of the slots. It will revise its European network and expand long-haul services. "We will operate a profitable network of over 40 routes, with a priority to strategic routes," Burrows said, acknowledging some current destinations might be dropped.
SN Airholding, which has controlled both carriers since April 2005, reported net income of +€12 million/+$14.5 million on revenue of €946 million for last year. This compares with a restated consolidated net loss of -€6 million and revenues of €906 million in 2004, when Virgin Express (EBA) was not part of SN Airholding. (CFO) Michel Meyfroidt said the group enjoyed a one-off dividend of €12 million from (SIC).
Virgin Express (EBA) boarded 1.95 million passengers last year with a load factor of 79.4% LF, a +4-point improvement on 2004. SN (DAT) transported 3.2 million passengers and achieved a load factor of 63% LF, a +1.8-point gain. SN (DAT) did not provide separate figures for its European and African networks, but Meyfroidt said its "very profitable African routes barely cover the losses of the European network."
June 2006: Virgin Express (EBA) will add 38x-weekly, or 50,000 seats, in July and August, increasing frequencies to Athens to 17x-weekly, Barcelona to 23x-, Bari to 4x-four, Catania to 4x-, Faro to 7x-, Malaga to 25x-, Naples to 5x- and Nice to 26x-. Palermo will welcome 4x-weekly services from Brussels.
November 2006: SN Brussels Airlines (DAT) and Virgin Express (EBA) announced that "Brussels Airlines" (DAT)/(EBA) will be the name of the merged company, a "new-generation" carrier that will meet "the real needs of both business (C) and low-cost travelers: Flexibility, service and time saving for the former, and the lowest fare guarantee for the latter."
The hybrid, born out of full-service SN Brussels (DAT), which itself was created out of the remains of Sabena (SAB), and low-fare carrier Virgin Express (EBA), will continue to offer a 2-class product on its long-haul network and to three medium-haul destinations (Helsinki, Moscow Domodedovo, and Tel Aviv), but will move to a single-class short-haul configuration from March 25, the date of its official launch.
Its "new generation" economy product will encompass b.flex and b.light. The "b" which is also the airline's new logo, symbolizes both Brussels and Belgium. B.flex comprises tickets without charge for change of date or destination, a 100% refund for pre-departure cancellation and rebooking onto an earlier flight at no extra cost. The ticket comes with priority boarding, seating in the front of the plane, complimentary newspapers, meals and fast-track through security, although initially only at Brussels Airport (BRU). (DAT)/(EBA) claims its b.flex fares will be -50% cheaper than its competitors' business class (C) fares. All tickets will be sold one-way. "We are the dominant player at Brussels Airport (BRU) and we want to become even more dominant," outgoing (CEO), Neil Burrows said. The constituent carriers currently command a 44% share of the passenger throughput at (BRU). "We will strengthen our niche position in Africa and we are still on course to expand our North America network," Burrows said. He added that (DAT)/(EBA) is seeking to add a 4th A330 to its long-haul operation and is in negotiations with "potential partners in Africa," specifically in Rwanda and Cameroon.
"In Europe, we will be in the position to compete more effectively with the growing number of Low Cost Carriers (LCC)s. We will offer 3x- as many low-fare destinations out of Brussels than before," he noted. Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will operate about +5% more seats at the start of the next summer schedule, compared to the year-earlier period.
Chairman, Etienne Davignon said he is targeting a 5% operating margin for Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) in 2008, although he admitted SN (DAT) "never made money" on its short-haul operations. The new carrier will be an (IATA) member and keep the SN code of SN Brussels (DAT).
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will begin operations on March 25th with the A319, A330 and Avro fleet of SN Brussels (DAT) as well as the 737 fleet of Virgin Express (EBA). The 1st airplane to display the livery of the new airline is an A319 - see photo. Virgin Express (EBA) 737-405 (24270, OO-VEK) is the 1st 737 in the new Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) livery - see photo.
December 2006: SN Brussels Airlines (DAT) will add a 5th daily frequency on its Brussels - Berlin Tempelhof route, as it anticipates increased demand owing to Germany's January ascendancy to the (EU) Presidency. Partner Virgin Express (EBA) continues its daily service to Berlin Schoenefeld.
Starting February 19th, Brussels - Budapest, increased to 11x-weekly, using 737s.
January 2007: SN Brussels Airlines (DAT) and Virgin Express (EBA), which will merge into Brussels Airlines on March 25th, carried a combined 5.94 million passengers in 2006, up +8% over the combined total in 2005.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) signed a letter of intent with AerCap (DEA) to add a 4th A330-300 to its long-haul fleet. The airplane previously belonged to Air Madrid (AMD), which suspended operations last month. Brussels (DAt)/(EBA)'s network "will not necessarily include new African destinations, but possibly some destinations on the North American continent," VP Communications, Geert Sciot said. It is expected that the carrier will operate Brussels - Toronto flights, which it currently offers in codeshare with Etihad Airways (EHD). Born from the merger of SN Brussels Airlines (DAT) and Virgin Express (EBA), Brussels Airlines officially will launch March 25. It is seeking to increase utilization of its European fleet by +10% during the summer schedule compared to the prior-year period.
February 2007: Berlin Airports announced that Tempelhof International Airport (THF) will close on October 31, 2008, following a decision by the Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg. The number of airlines serving the airport has fallen to single digits. Brussels Airlines (EBA)/(DAT), Sterling Airlines (STR) and Cirrus Airlines (RUS) are the largest, and last month's throughput was down -45.4% year-over-year to just 26,500 passengers. Berlin Airports (CEO), Rainer Schwarz said the company has lost -€115 million/-$149.4 million on (THF) in the past decade. Airlines will be allowed to transfer to either Schoenefeld or Tegel.
(DAT)/(EBA), the new carrier resulting from the merger of SN Brussels Airlines (DAT) and Virgin Express (EBA), changed its logo, adding a dot to its stylized "b" mark after passengers complained the 13 dots that comprised the original symbol were unlucky. The new logo is up on the carrier's website. "We are never surprised by reactions, but that it was that bad? It really took us aback," a Brussels (DAT)/(EBA) spokesperson told the British Broadcasting System (BBC). (DAT)/(EBA will launch formally on March 25.
A330-322 (082), ex-(EC-JTB), delivery for Brussels Airlines (EBA)/(DAT).
March 2007: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will launch 5x-weekly flights from Brussels to Krakow on March 30, and to Cagliari at the end of April.
May 2007: Jet Airways (JPL) will establish a European hub at Brussels Airport (BRU). Jet (JPL) anticipates operating up to 10 daily flights through (BRU) within 2 years, launching service from Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Chennai to Los Angeles, Chicago O'Hare, and New York (JFK), via its new hub in addition to the daily Mumbai - (BRU) - (JFK) and Delhi - (BRU) - Toronto flights scheduled to start later this year. "Now the people of Belgium no longer have to feel they can't have their own long-haul carrier without having to subsidize it," Jet (JPL) Chairman, Naresh Goyal joked, adding on a more serious note that the carrier has been "looking for an opportunity to combine its expansion plan to the USA and Canada, with an efficient hub in Europe, together with a strong national carrier offering a wide network. We have found it all at Brussels."
Jet (JPL) and Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) covering codeshare flights, a frequent-flier partnership, and check-through facilities. (DAT)/(EBA) will place its code on Jet (JPL)'s flights from (BRU) to Mumbai, Delhi and Toronto, and Jet (JPL) will start with (DAT)/(EBA) flights to Stockholm-Bromma, Oslo Gardermoen, Birmingham, Geneva and Madrid, with expansion likely.
(CEO), Wolfgang Prock-Schauer said that Jet (JPL) chose (BRU) over London Heathrow (LHR), Paris Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam and Frankfurt, which lacked attractive morning slots and offered cumbersome transfers, especially at (LHR). The eagerness of (BRU), privately owned since 2005, to add new long-haul destinations, and the absence of a strong competitor also played in its favor. He confirmed that the airline received a "good" marketing and support package "within the (EU) framework of what is allowed." He expects 70% to 75% of the passenger traffic between India and the USA, via the hub, to be sold at either end, with the remainder European feed. The European hub fits in with Jet (JPL)'s international expansion plan. It is taking delivery of 10 777-300ERs and 10 A330-200s through October 2008, and one of each was at (BRU) in new livery and configuration. The carrier also has ordered 10 787s. It currently serves 6 international destinations, growing to 15 by October.
(JPL) is not interested in buttressing its international network through alliance membership in the short term, he said. It grew systemwide capacity (ASK)s +35% in the financial year ended March 31 and will raise capacity by up to +50% in the current Fiscal Year (FY), which he said "makes us one of the fastest-growing 'mature' airlines in the world." He also revealed that he expects the restructuring of Air Sahara (SAQ) into "JetLite" to be finalized within "some months."
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), has established 5 priorities in its effort to reinforce its profitability, which (CEO), Philippe Vander Putten said is at an unacceptably low level. With net earnings of +€14.5 million/+$19.5 million on combined revenue of €892 million in 2006, the new carrier's margin of 1.6% was well below the 3.5% average attained by Assn of European Airlines members. Speaking to the European Aviation Club in Brussels, Vander Putten said customer satisfaction, the "defense and growth" of its African network, the success of its b.flex and b.light economy products, integration of the constituent carriers and cost reduction, are key to improving those results. There are some good signs. "We have been able to retain the (EBA) customers, and the former SN Brussels (DAT) passengers, who have traveled with the new carrier, are happy with the service. Thus I would say it is a success. Forward bookings are up +5% compared to the year-ago period," he said.
The new SN (DAT)/(EBA) has eliminated business class (C) across its short-haul network, as those passengers accounted for just 3% of the total during the 3 months prior to the merger. While the African network represents only 7% of passengers, it accounts for 20% of revenue and 100% of freight and "is clearly profitable," according to Vander Putten. "We need to defend the fortress we have built there," he said, adding that other carriers, including Air France (AFA)/(KLM), are keen to attack its African presence. The defense strategy comprises more frequencies, more direct flights, more destinations and development of regional projects. "We want to create minihubs in west, east and central Africa to feed and de-feed our long-haul network."
(DAT)/(EBA) is considering a "basket" of new destinations. "We could announce them soon. However, what I cannot control is how quickly we can find" a 5th A330, he said. SN (DAT)/(EBA) this week took delivery of its 4th A330-300, which will be used throughout the summer on an ad hoc basis in Europe and will start operating on the African network later this year.
June 2007: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) is talking with Mauritius about establishing a local airline, the carrier confirmed. The project is part of (DAT)/(EBA)'s strategy to expand its African network, which includes adding new destinations, increasing direct flights and frequencies and participating in local airlines.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) plans to make a fleet renewal decision next year, (CEO), Philippe Vander Putten said. "The choice to buy Airbus or Boeing is easy. The difficulty is to define what our future fleet requirements will be," he said. "What will our business model be? A lot will depend on how successful our new positioning [from a yield-oriented to a more volume-oriented carrier], will be. There is also the question: Do we pick up again some destinations we [Sabena] used to fly, like Tokyo, for instance?"
Brussels currently operates a mixed fleet of 4 A330-300s, 3 A319s, 10 737s and 32 Avro RJ/BAe airplanes. Leases on all have been aligned over the past year and will expire in 2011 to 2014. It is looking into renewing its fleet with 2 airplane types from the same family for its medium- and long-haul flights, plus one regional jet. Vander Putten also revealed that he wants to assess the possibility of joining an alliance. "80% of traffic is going though an alliance. It might be time to join 1. There are negatives. You are a bit less independent, but there are lots of positives too," he said.
August 2007: The Rwanda government selected Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) and Meridiana (ALS) Africa Airlines for the privatization of Rwandair Express (RWA), "l'Echo" reported, citing Rwandair (RWA) President, Manzi Kayihura as saying that the company with the best strategy would win the tender rather than the one with the highest bid. Rwandair (RWA) is seeking to place 40% of its capital with an industrial investor and 40% with private investors, leaving the state with 20%. The airline currently operates 1 37-seat Dash 8 and 1 142-seat MD-82.
September 2007: Brussels Airlines Group (DAT)/(EBA) and Hewa Bora Airways (EXD) reached agreement jointly to create a new Congolese airline to be based at Kinshasa N'Djili Airport. It will operate both domestic and international services aboard 737s and B Ae 146s. (DAT)/(EBA)'s participation in the new company is through its Pan African Airlines Leasing Co affiliate, which is based in Mauritius and specializes in developing African aviation projects and partnerships. (EXD) owns 51% of the new airline, with Pan African holding the remainder. "The new airline will start its operations as soon as possible, after all necessary preparations work has been done and licenses have been granted. The name of the airline will be announced at a later stage," Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) said in a statement, stressing that the carrier will operate according to international standards. At present, all Democratic Republic of Congo airlines are banned from operating to the European Union (EU) except for (EXD), which is allowed to operate a single 767-200ER to the bloc.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will start a 6x-weekly, Brussels - Ljubljana service from November 19.
November 2007: A new Congolese airline established by Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) and Hewa Bora Airways (EXD) will carry the name "airDC," Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA)announced. AirDC's commercial passenger flights are expected to start in early 2008. It will operate 737s and B Ae 146s from its home base at Kinshasa N'Djili on a domestic and continental network. (DAT)/(EBA) African Projects Manager, Johan Maertens was appointed (CEO). The name airDC is a reference to (RDC), the French acronym for Democratic Republic of Congo.
December 2007: Brussels Airlines (BRU)/(EBA) operates an extensive European network serving >30 destinations in 11 countries from its main hub at Brussels. Long-haul flights are operated to several points in East, Central, and West Africa. (DAT)/(EBA) offers a range of other services including chartering, maintenance and training of cockpit (FC) and cabin crews (CA).
Employees = 2,800.
(IATA) Code: SN - 082. (ICAO) Code: DAT (Callsign - ESTAIL).
Parent organization/shareholders: SN Air Holding (100%).
Alliances: Air Malta (MLT); Air Senegal International (SNG); Alitalia (ALI); American Airlines (AAL); British Airways (BAB); Bulgaria Air (LZB); Croatia Airlines (CRH); (CSA) Czech Airlines; Cyprus Airlines (CYP); El Al Israel Airlines (ELA); Etihad Airways (EHD); Finnair (FIN); FlyLal (LIJ); Hainan Airlines (HNA); Iberia (IBE); (LOT) Polish Airlines; Malev (HGA); Malmo Aviation (TSW); Pulkovo Airlines (STG); Royal Air Maroc (RAM); SUN-Air of Scandinavia; Swiss (CSR); (TAP) Portugal; TAROM (TRM); & Ukraine International Airlines (UKA).
Main Base: Brussels airport (BRU).
Berlin Tempelhof (THF), Germany's oldest airport, will close on October 31, 2008, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled this week. Several airlines complained about the decision, which is tied to the construction of the new Brandenburg facility, which should be in operation by 2012. The City of Berlin withdrew Tempelhof's operating license to prepare for next fall's closure. (THF), which counts Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) and Cirrus Airlines (RUS) as 2 of the few scheduled carriers still flying there, is famous as the site of the Berlin Airlift in 1948 to 1949.
Jet Airways (JPL) expanded its codeshare arrangement with Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) and added its code to SN-operated services from/to Birmingham and Madrid.
(ILFC) (ILF) announced a leasing deal with Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) for one 737-400 powered by (CFM56-3C1)s, to be delivered next February under a 5-year lease.
January 2008: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will add a 2nd Brussels - Moscow Domodedovo service on March 31, operated 6x-weekly, aboard an A319.
February 2008: Brussels Airlines Group (DAT)/(EBA) and Hewa Bora Airways (EXD) reached agreement jointly to create a new Congolese airline to be based at Kinshasa N'Djili Airport. It will operate both domestic and international services aboard 737s and BAe 146s. (DAT)/(EBA)'s participation in the new company is through its Pan African Airlines Leasing Co affiliate, which is based in Mauritius and specializes in developing African aviation projects and partnerships. (EXD) owns 51% of the new airline, with Pan African holding the remainder. "The new airline will start its operations as soon as possible after all necessary preparations work has been done and licenses have been granted. The name of the airline will be announced at a later stage," Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) said, stressing that the carrier will operate according to international standards. At present, all Democratic Republic of Congo airlines are banned from operating to the European Union (EU) except for (EXD), which is allowed to operate a single 767-200ER to the bloc.
April 2008: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) said its 2007 net profit nearly doubled to +€23.1 million from +€13.9 million the previous year, but warned that "high fuel prices, rising inflation, decreasing consumer confidence and increasing competition will have a negative influence on results in the current financial year." Revenue grew +2% to €921 million. The number of revenue seats on both (DAT)/(EBA) and codeshare operations increased +1.8% to 5.8 million.
Enplanements on its African network rose nearly +8%, while passengers on European routes lifted "only slightly, owing to increased competition," the carrier said.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) acknowledged that it is negotiating an alliance membership, although it declined to comment on rumors that it was discussing possible acquisition by Lufthansa (DLH). "A possible financial participation of a new shareholder could only be considered under the condition that the sustainable future, the identity and the autonomy of Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) are guaranteed," it said in a statement, while (DLH) (CEO), Wolfgang Mayrhuber told shareholders at the company's Annual General Meeting (AGM), "So far I have heard speculation that we are going to merge with everyone except for Air France (AFA)-(KLM)."
Regarding alliances, Brussels (DAT)/(EBA) did confirm discussions "with various partners to establish the conditions of a possible participation in 1 of the 3 main commercial alliances," although "no decision has been made." SkyTeam (STM) dropped out some time ago, leaving Star Alliance (SAL) and oneworld (ONW) as potential partners.
Sabena Technics (SAB) signed a 3-year airplane maintenance services agreement with Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) covering its 10 737s and 4 A330s. The agreement includes line and light maintenance support, outstation services for long-haul operations and component support services. By year end, Brussels (DAT)/(EBA) aims to conduct its own line maintenance on its 737s. It already does so on its B Ae 146s and A320 family airplanes.
June 2008: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) (CEO) & Managing Director, Philippe Vander Putten resigned "due to divergences of view concerning the repartition of roles at the top of the company," (DAT)/(EBA) announced. All parties were "in full agreement," (DAT)/(EBA) said. (CFO), Michel Meyfroidt (Operations, Finance, Administration, and Human Resources), and consultant Bernard Gustin (Strategic, Commercial, Network, Communications, and Information Technology (IT)) were appointed Managing Directors and will head the management committee running the airline effective June 11. Meyfroidt will chair the committee.
Brussels Cargo, the cargo division of Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), launched a new daylight courier service to and from Brussels, that will be marketed by Globe Air Cargo. It initially is serving Athens, Barcelona, Lisbon, Nice, Madrid, and Warsaw carrying pieces of up to 32 kg each.
August 2008: AirBaltic (BAU) will launch daily, Riga - Amsterdam on October 26 aboard a 737-500. It also reached a code share deal with Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) under which the Belgian carrier will place its code on airBaltic (BAU)'s Riga - Brussels service beginning August 4.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) signed a 5-year contract with Lufthansa (DLH) Systems under which the latter will implement its Sirax, SiraxCredit and Sirax View modules at the Belgian carrier and operate the system in its own data center. The deal also covers the revenue accounting processes for airDC, the Congolese startup set up by Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA).
Lufthansa (DLH) is in "constructive negotiations" with SN Airholding, parent of Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), about an equity investment worth 45% of the Belgian company with an option to take it over fully later. The confirmation follows speculation of a tie-up last spring after Chairman, Etienne Davignon acknowledged that (DAT)/(EBA) was negotiating an alliance membership and stated without naming (DLH) that "a possible financial participation of a new shareholder could only be considered under the condition that the sustainable future, the identity and the autonomy of (DAT)/(EBA) are guaranteed." The airlines said in a joint statement that negotiations are intended to produce "a collaboration with (DAT)/(EBA) as a self-dependently operating airline within the Lufthansa (DLH) affiliated group." Negotiations are expected to conclude "over the next few weeks." (DLH) would acquire 45% of (DAT)/(EBA) Airholding for about €65 million/$95.6 million through a capital increase and hold an option for the remaining 55% that could be exercised after 2 years. The price would be linked to (DAT)/(EBA)'s performance.
The Virgin Group (VAA) is (DAT)/(EBA)'s largest shareholder at 29.9% as a result of the merger of Brussels-based Low Cost Carrier (LCC) Virgin Express with full-service competitor SN Brussels Airlines (DAT) in 2006.
(DLH)'s interest in Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) coincides with its confirmed interest in bidding for the Austrian government's stake in Austrian Airlines (AAL) Group. The German carrier also is talking with TUI Travel (TUG) and Thomas Cook Group (JMA) about a possible 3-way combination of their low-fare subsidiaries.
September 2008: Lufthansa (DLH) will take over Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), the carriers announced, in a deal that potentially values the Belgian carrier at €250 million/$355.6 million and could pave the way for its entry into Star Alliance (SAL). In a 1st step, (DLH) will take a 45% "strategic" stake in Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) parent SN Airholding for €65 million. It will have the option of acquiring the remaining 55% from 2011. It was agreed that the total price of the acquisition will not exceed €250 million. The 2-phased agreement is dependent upon approval of regulatory authorities and (DLH)'s supervisory board as well as (DAT)/(EBA)'s shareholders and board. The (DLH) board is scheduled to meet on September 24.
(DLH) and (DAT)/(EBA) had been known to be negotiating since late last month. Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), launched in 2006, is the fruit of a merger between Brussels-based Low Cost Carrier (LCC) Virgin Express and its full-service competitor SN Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), which itself was the successor to former Belgian flag carrier Sabena (SAB).
With its latest addition, (DLH) secures a 4th hub in Europe alongside Frankfurt, Munich, and Zurich, and strengthens its position in Africa. (DAT)/(EBA) operates to 14 African destinations of which only 4 also are served by (DLH) subsidiary, Swiss (CSR). The group will be the largest European operator to Africa with 28 destinations, ahead of Air France (AFA)/(KLM).
(CEO) Wolfgang Mayrhuber said (DLH) has developed a "unique multihub, multibrand" strategy. In line with that philosophy, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will retain its brand and headquarters and will operate under its own Air Operator's Certificate (AOC). He added that (DLH) has transformed from a "branded house" to a "house of brands," from a "traditional or legacy airline" to a "multiproduct provider," and from a "standalone" company based in Frankfurt to a "European" airline system.
SN Airholding Chairman, Eitienne Davignon confirmed that the company had been negotiating with other potential investors. British Airways (BAB) was involved in talks until the last minute. "A joint future with Lufthansa provides us with the best chance of operating successfully against the competition," Davignon said. "When we created [SN Brussels Airlines (DAT)] following the demise of Sabena (SAB) in 2002, the forecast was that we would survive between 6 and 9 months. We are now entering a new phase." The carriers said the tie-up will lead to "substantial" synergies.
The Lufthansa (DLH) supervisory board approved the company's strategic investment in Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) parent SN Airholding. (DLH) will acquire a 45% stake in (DAT)/(EBA) for €65 million, and in 2011 will have an option to purchase the remaining 55%, at which point (DAT)/(EBA) will be integrated fully into the group. The deal has not yet been approved by the (DAT)/(EBA) board and shareholders or competition authorities.
October 2008: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will add a 4x-daily, Brussels - Manchester on October 26.
Etihad Airways (EHD) expanded its codeshare agreement with Brussels Airlines (EBA)/(DAT) and will place its code on (EBA)/(DAT) flights from Brussels to Oslo Gardermoen, Stockholm Bromma, Gothenburg, Helsinki, and Copenhagen effective October 6.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA)'s recent financial tie-up with Lufthansa (DLH) and its possible entry into the Star Alliance (SAL) will not affect its cooperation with Jet Airways (JPL), (DAT)/(EBA) Managing Director, Bernard Gustin said. "We included our partnership with Jet Airways (JPL) in our discussions with Lufthansa (DLH) from the beginning and made it very clear [to (DLH)] that the cooperation [with Jet (JPL)] is very important to us. They understand this," Gustin said, noting that the successful Jet (JPL) partnership is a "positive" the carriers value. (DLH) acquired an initial 45% of (DAT)/(EBA) for €65 million/$90.4 million, and in 2011 will have an option to purchase the remaining 55% at a price related to its performance. "Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) fully supports the growth plans of Jet Airways (JPL). We benefit from their hub here," Gustin said. (DAT)/(EBA)'s passenger total, thanks to the (JPL) hub has increased from 585 per month in August 2007 to 6,217 last July. "About 200 Jet Airways (JPL) passengers per day take a connecting flight with (DAT)/(EBA) and I dare to forecast a doubling of this," Gustin said. Improved connection times and frequencies, as well as joint sales efforts should increase volume further, he added. This winter schedule, 20 (DAT)/(EBA) destinations will connect within a 2-hour timeframe with Jet (JPL)'s schedule compared to 3 in winter 2007.
Bmi (BMA) and Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), which each have Lufthansa (DLH) as a shareholder, signed a code share agreement that will see bmi (BMA) add its code to SN (DAT)/(EBA) flights from Brussels (BRU) to Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, and Newcastle. SN (DAT)/(EBA) will add its code to bmi (BMA) flights from Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, and Nottingham East Midlands. According to bmi (BMA) Deputy (CEO), Tim Bye, the agreement is not a result of (DLH)'s recent investment in (DAT)/(EBA). "We were not brought together by a common shareholder," he said. "It is just a straightforward commercial arrangement, which makes sense from our perspective, because it sort of doubles the number of Brussels routes from the regions we can sell, and similarly for (DAT)/(EBA), it gives them a much enhanced network."
Yet the common shareholder could enhance further cooperation between the carriers, Bye said, pointing to a possible Star Alliance (SAL) collaboration. "Lufthansa (DLH) has said that it will, in due course, probably be looking to propose (DAT)/(EBA) joining the Star Alliance (SAL), which we would certainly be supportive of if it was to happen. There is every prospect of the commercial relationship getting deeper than it is at the moment." Bmi (BMA) hopes to add in the "short-to-medium term" its 7x-daily, London Heathrow (LHR) - (BRU), as well as beyond routes to the code share agreement. (DAT)/(EBA) currently code shares with British Airways (BAB) on (LHR) - (BRU).
December 2008: The Star Alliance (SAL) confirmed that Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), which is owned partially by Lufthansa (DLH), will join the (SAL) organization, and (SAL) CEO, Jaan Albrecht said the 21-member group eventually may more than double in size. "We have a lot of requests from carriers" to join the alliance, he said at (SAL)'s annual board meeting in Chicago. "We are now working on a new concept that we can see up to 50 member carriers in the future. That could mean maybe 30 or 40 or even more carriers." He said greater size will mean greater strength during downturns like the one currently facing the industry. "We developed from a 'good weather' alliance to a global alliance, that can handle difficult situations like now," he said.
(SAL) already is set to add Continental Airlines (CAL) (now in SkyTeam (STM)), Air India (AIN), and (TAM) (TPR). Albrecht said it is talking to "several carriers" regarding future membership, especially in Africa and Latin America. "But we don't need a hub in the desert. We are not talking to Middle East carriers about joining (SAL)," he said.
To handle its much larger future, (SAL) is examining restricting its leadership and management, Albrecht revealed. He said that smaller carriers will provide "local leadership" while (SAL) linchpins like (DLH) or United Airlines (UAL) will offer "global leadership." He said management strategy "is one of the main topics we are working on currently." He assured that membership will not be stratified and that every (SAL) airline, regardless of size, will be considered a full member.
No time line was revealed regarding (DAT)/(EBA)'s membership. It will become (SAL)'s 10th European member and operates 45 airplanes on approximately 300 flights to 55 European and 15 African destinations. (DLH) reached agreement to purchase 45% of (DAT)/(EBA) in September and has an option to acquire the remainder in 2011. (UAL) Chairman, President & (CEO), Glenn Tilton cited (DAT)/(EBA)'s "greater connectivity throughout Europe and Africa" as its appealing feature. (DLH) will sponsor (DAT)/(EBA) through the membership process.
(DAT)/(EBA) is considering repositioning itself again as a full-fledged network airline and reintroducing a business class (C) on its European network, steering away from the "new generation carrier" concept introduced in March 2007 when it merged the operations of full-service Brussels Airlines (DAT) with low-cost Virgin Express (EBA). The probable shift in (DAT)(EBA)'s service model follows the September takeover agreement with (DLH) and the subsequent invitation to join the Star Alliance (SAL). Although never really positioned as a true Low Cost Carrier (LCC), the carrier integrated several low-cost elements from (EBA) such as an all-economy configuration on its European network. It could retain its dual economy class (Y) concept of flexible full service (38% of passengers) and low fare on its European network, while adding a full-service business class to align its product offering with its (SAL) partners and better contribute to (DLH)'s multi-hub strategy.
(DAT)/(EBA) offers business class (C) to 3 medium-haul destinations and on its African network, which it is planning to expand from the current 4 A330-300s (it is considering leasing 2 more A330s) operating to 14 destinations. Last week, it opened an Africa Zone at Brussels Airport's Terminal A that includes a business class (C) lounge. (SAL) is looking to make the terminal a dedicated alliance facility.
(DAT)/(EBA) VP Communications, Geert Sciot said that the carrier installed a management partnership team together with (DLH) to plan integration projects "including ground handling, network development, cargo . . . However, they are only projects until we obtain regulatory approval" for the acquisition, he said. The European Commission (EC) is expected to announce next month whether it will clear the takeover or open an in-depth investigation.
(DAT)/(EBA) also announced the launch of a weekly, Brussels (BRU) - Palermo service on April 4 aboard a 737, operating 2x-weekly in July and August.
AeroTech Services said Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) purchased its USA (FAA)-verified modification aimed at reducing fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions on 737s. The technology increases an airplane's lift-to-drag ratio by expanding the wing area and camber and lengthening the chord.
January 2009: The European Commission (EC) opened an in-depth investigation into (DLH)'s proposed takeover of Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) parent SN Airholding because of competition concerns regarding several routes between Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. The (EC) said its initial investigation found that the merger would lead to a monopoly on service from Brussels (BRU) to Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich, and substantially reduce competition on (BRU) - Berlin Tegel. It also expressed concerns about flights to Zurich and Geneva.
"At a time of consolidation in the European airline sector, the (EC) must make sure that consumers will continue to have a competitive choice of airline services both as regards fares and routes," Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said. (DLH) proposed remedies on January 5, European competition authorities confirmed, but added they were not "sufficiently clear-cut" to alleviate its doubts.
(DAT)/(EBA) said it was "surprised" by the decision, "especially given the quality of the solutions proposed," and stressed that it is "convinced that this agreement [with (DLH)] is the best guarantee of a healthy future for itself as well as for Belgium and European aviation." The (EC) has until June 10 to take a final decision.
(DAT)/(EBA) said 40% of passengers departing from Brussels opted for self check-in last year, a +30% increase year-over-year. Of those passengers, 55% checked in online and 45% used an airport kiosk.
February 2009: Lufthansa (DLH) and Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) announced reciprocal lounge access and baggage check-through. The carriers said a code share agreement covering "large parts" of their networks "is also envisaged," in addition to the pooling of (DLH), (DAT)/(EBA) and Swiss International Air Lines (CSR) loyalty programs.
March 2009: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) and Lufthansa (DLH) will code share on flights between Brussels and Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover, Nuremberg and Stuttgart beginning March 29. The carriers intend to add Munich "at a later point."
June 2009: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) Co-(CEO), Bernard Gustin said he expects the European Commission (EC) to approve Lufthansa (DLH)'s acquisition of the (DAT)/(EBA) "in the next coming days," according to "Reuters." He also said, "I do not believe that we will be profitable [in 2009] but that still remains our target." (DAT)/(EBA) lost -€12.2 million/-$16.9 million last year.
Later, (DLH) took significant steps toward its acquisition of both bmi (BMA) and Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), resolving a financial dispute with the former and receiving European Commission (EC) approval for the latter. The (EC) approved (DLH)'s investment in and future merger with (DAT)/(EBA), saying that "the comprehensive remedies package offered by (DLH) will facilitate market entry on the affected routes and thereby create alternative choices for passengers." (DLH) will acquire a 45% stake in parent company SN Airholding for €65 million in a first stage, with an option to acquire the remainder in 2011. The (EC) opened an investigation of the (DLH)/(DAT)/EBA) deal in January, arguing that the combined carrier "could significantly impede effective competition," particularly on routes from Belgium to Germany and Switzerland. To address those concerns, (DLH) offered slots allowing new entrants to operate flights from Brussels to Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, and Zurich. Any new entrant will obtain grandfathering rights over the relevant slots once it has operated a route for a predetermined period. The (EC) still is analyzing (DLH)'s proposed acquisition of Austrian Airlines (AUL), for which it has set a July 1 deadline.
September 2009: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will launch 12x-weekly, Brussels - Milan Linate service October 25 aboard an Avro RJ. Lufthansa (DLH) will code share on the flight. (DAT)/(EBA) and (DLH) also announced an expansion of their code share arrangement covering more routes to Africa. (DLH) will place its code on (DAT)/(EBA) flights from Brussels to Abidjan, Banjul, Bujumbura, Nairobi, Monrovia, Douala, and Yaounde. (DAT)/(EBA)'s code will be on (DLH) services from Frankfurt to Accra, Khartoum, Johannesburg, and Cape Town.
(DAT)/(EBA) and bmi (BMA) announced an expanded code share agreement under which (BMA) will add its code to (DAT)/(EBA)'s 2x-daily, Brussels (BRU) - London Gatwick service and (DAT)/(EBA) will place its code on (BMA)'s 7x-daily, (BRU) - Heathrow flights.
October 2009: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) is "set and ready" to enter the Star Alliance (SAL), with the formal accession scheduled for December 9 in Brussels, Managing Director, Bernard Gustin said.
"We performed out last Information Technology (IT) tests and we expect a green light," he said. "When we were formally invited to join the (SAL) in December in Chicago, I was cautious and expected the integration could take between 12 and 18 months. We did it in less than a year." Lufthansa (DLH), a 45% shareholder in (DAT)/(EBA), assisted (DAT)/(EBA) with the integration.
(DAT)/(EBA) also has completed full integration of its "Privilege" frequent-flyer program with (DLH)'s "Miles & More." (DAT)/(EBA) and (DLH) said that 220,000 Privilege members accepted the transfer to Miles & More. (DAT)/(EBA) will be the point of contact for all Miles & More members and partners in Belgium and Africa.
Travelport said (DAT)/(EBA) selected its (ETAT) e-ticketing solution to enable approved Galileo-connected users in Rwanda to issue e-tickets on bookings made with the airline.
November 2009: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) is seeing a "very slight and progressive" improvement in the business environment, with higher load factors and a stabilization of the decrease in yield occurring, thanks to solid sales of its business class (C) and "b-flex" economy tickets, co-Managing Director, Bernard Gustin said.
Business (C) and "b-flex" currently represent 27% of the total compared to just 15% in the second quarter. Passenger boardings are back at October 2008 levels (but still -10% lower than October 2007) and yield has recovered to where it was eight months ago. "There are positive signs, but I remain extremely cautious. We assume the winter could be hard," Gustin said.
For the first nine months of 2009, revenue was down -16% year-over-year while costs fell -8%. "We expect to report a net loss and an operating loss for 2009," co-Managing Director, Michel Meyfroidt confirmed, stressing that (DAT)/(EBA)'s cash position is "very strong" despite a cash burn of about €1.5 million/$2.2 million per month.
(DAT)/(EBA) is increasing capacity (ASK)s during the winter schedule by +2% over winter 2008 to 2009, when it cut capacity by a dramatic -15%. "We reduced capacity earlier and more aggressively than other airlines, and now we are one of the few [European network] carriers to increase capacity," Gustin noted. "We are in guerilla mood," he added. "Our strategy for the winter is to further optimize our asset capacity to grasp every opportunity and focus on new target groups." (DAT)/(EBA) has taken two 737s out of its mainline operations this winter. One is being returned to the lessor, while the other one will support ad hoc and charter operations, a growing segment at (DAT)/(EBA).
(DAT)/(EBA) extended leases on three of its four A330-300s by four years and initiated a search for a fifth. Formal approval for the lease of an additional long-haul airplane is expected in December. The fifth A330 would support increased frequencies on existing routes and serve new destinations. (DAT)/(EBA) operates mostly on a double-touch basis to Africa, where it secured local fifth freedom rights, for example, between Dakar and Banjul, Conakry and Freetown, between Monrovia and Abidjan, and between Douala/Yaounde and Kinshasa.
A decision on renewal of its regional fleet comprising 14 RJ85s and 12 RJ100s is not imminent, "but next year we will need to have a direction," Gustin said, confirming the airline will replace the Avros with an alternative regional airplane. The Avro leases expire from the end of 2012 through 2014. He also reckoned that (DAT)/(EBA) needs to align its single-aisle fleet of A319s and 737-300s/-400s, saying, "We're looking at opportunities in the current market."
December 2009: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) became the 26th member of the Star Alliance (SAL) in ceremonies in the Belgian capital, 12 months after it was invited to join and following the conclusion of a strategic partnership with Lufthansa (DLH), which acquired 45% of parent SN Air Holding in June. "Since its inception, (SAL) carriers have been flying to Brussels but from now on, we can start developing the airport as a hub," (SAL) (CEO), Jaan Albrecht said. With the addition of (DAT)/(EBA), the (SAL) Alliance network covers 1,077 destinations in 175 countries, including four new destinations in Africa: Bujumbura, Conakry, Kigali, and Monrovia. - - SEE ATTACHED "AIRLINER WORLD" ARTICLE - - "EBA-2009-12 SAL MEMBER."
"Eight years after (DAT)/(EBA) was created [as successor to Sabena (SAB)], we are extremely proud to become a member of the (SAL) Alliance," (DAT)/(EBA) co-(CEO), Bernard Gustin said, pointing out that for Brussels Airport (BRU), located between SkyTeam (STM) Alliance hubs at Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Amsterdam and "not too far" from Oneworld (ONW) Alliance's hub at London Heathrow (LHR), "this is a key opportunity."
According to (DAT)/(EBA) figures, (SAL) alliance members operate up to 190 daily weekday departures from (BRU) to 80 destinations. Five (SAL) alliance airlines operate to 19 long-haul destinations and 14 (SAL) alliance members operate intra-European services. (SAL) alliance carriers currently represent some 55% of all flight movements at (BRU). In line with its "under one roof" strategy, the (SAL) alliance reportedly is eyeing the airport's Terminal A, which serves Schengen destinations as well as (DAT)/(EBA)'s African flights, as a co-location area.
Ahead of the formal induction, (DAT)/(EBA) entered into bilateral commercial agreements with several (SAL) alliance members and signed code share deals with Blue1 (BLF), Austrian Airlines (AUL), EgyptAir (EGP), and Spanair (SPP). (DAT)/(EBA) extended agreements with Lufthansa (DLH), Swiss International Air Lines (CSR), bmi (BMA), (LOT) Polish Airlines, (TAP) Portugal, Adria Airways (ADR) and future member Aegean Airlines (CRM).
Gustin confirmed that (DAT)/(EBA) is negotiating code share deals with Air Canada (ACN), United Airlines (UAL), US Airways (AMW)/(USA) and Continental Airlines (CAL). (ACN) and (UAL) have announced new service to (BRU) from Montreal and Chicago O'Hare, respectively, while (AMW)/(USA) will increase its Philadelphia service to daily next summer. Agreements with (CAL) and (UAL) would replace the current agreement with American Airlines (AAL) that terminates at the end of March.
"We cannot walk faster than the music," Gustin explained. "We're a small carrier. It takes time to implement all the code share agreements." He said he expects (AL) alliance membership, combined with (DAT)/(EBA)s participation in (DLH)'s "Miles & More" loyalty program, to lift passenger numbers by +4% to +5%.
Lufthansa (DLH) Systems inked a five-year contract with Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) for the use of its SchedConnect code share management solution.
January 2010: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will add a fifth ex-Malaysia Airlines (MAS) A330-300 to its fleet this summer and is also considering leasing a fifth A319-100. It has launched 4x-daily, Brussels - London Heathrow service on January 11 replacing its own London Gatwick route and services on the same route previously operated by sister carrier bmi british midland (BMA). It has wet-leased two ERJ-145s from bmi regional for its routes from Brussels to Bristol and Newcastle. Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) has started code sharing with Star Alliance (SAL) partners Adria Airways (ADR), EgyptAir (EGP), Spanair (SPP) and (TAP) Portugal covering routes between Brussels and the home countries of the other carriers. Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EPA) is planning to set-up Korongo (Lubumbashi) with a single 737-300. The new carrier is planning to operate domestic services in the Democratic Republic of Congo and also offering connections to the Kinshasa NDjili - Brussels services operated by Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) on a daily basis. It had previously planned to set-up airDC as a joint venture with (HBA) - Hewa Bora Airways (EXD) but that plan had failed.
May 2010: AeroTech Services said its (EASA) and USA (FAA)-verified Wing Modification System has reduced fuel burn aboard a Brussels Airlines (EBA)/(DAT) 737-400 by an average of -2.7% during cruise. (EBA)/DAT) will outfit the remainder of its 737-400 fleet with the modification, which increases an airplane's wing area and camber and lengthens the chord, increasing lift-to-drag ratio.
June 2010: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(ENA) posted a net loss of -€39.8 million in 2009, dramatically widened from a -€6.8 million deficit in 2008, according to Belgium's Central Balance Sheet Office. Total revenue fell -16.1% to €849.2 million, while operating costs decreased just -8.3% to €922.4 million. Operating loss came in at -€73.1 million, reversed from a positive (EBIT) of €4.7 million the prior year. Capacity (ASK)s decreased -6.5% to 10.96 billion and passengers carried dropped -9.8% to 4.6 million, of which 0.5 million traveled on its African network.
Lufthansa (DLH) operated its first scheduled A380 flight from Frankfurt (FRA) to Tokyo Narita (NRT) with 520 passengers and 22 crew (FC) - (CA) on board. 3x-weekly service on the route will become daily on August 4, following delivery of (DLH)'s second A380 by the end of July. Its third will operate between (FRA) and Beijing, 3x-weekly beginning August 25, and its fourth will fly between (FRA) and Johannesburg 3x-weekly, from October 25.
(DLH) flew its A380 from the recent Berlin Air Show to Brussels (BRU) to show the airplane to the Belgian market, part of its tour of European cities prior to its service launch. It is configured with 526 seats: Eight first (F) class and 98C business class on the upper deck, and 420Y economy on the lower deck." The (FRA) - (NRT) flight is almost fully booked through September with very strong bookings in first (F) class," (DLH) Chief Pilot and (COO), Juergen Raps said on board the flight from Berlin Schoenefeld to (BRU).
The (DLH) A380's visit to Brussels "proves that Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) plays an important role in Lufthansa (DLH)'s global network and that Brussels has a place in its multi-hub strategy," Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) Co-(CEO), Bernard Gustin said during the flight. "We are too small to operate the A380 ourselves, but through our partnership with (DLH), we are able to offer this fantastic product to our clients."
(DAT)/(EBA) will add its code to (DLH)'s A380 (FRA) - (NRT) service as well as the planned service to Johannesburg, he said. "Subject to traffic rights, we want to maximize code sharing on (DLH)'s global network."
A330-322 (095, OO-SSV), (ILF) leased.
July 2010: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) added a fifth leased A330-300 to its fleet, supporting four new African destinations from Brussels (BRU): Accra, Lome, Cotonouand Ouagadougou. (DAT)/(EBA) also confirmed it expects to launch its planned African subsidiary, Korongo by year end or early 2011. Korongo is a Joint Venture (JV) with the Forrest Group to be based in Congo.
August 2010: Star Alliance (SAL) partners Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) and Continental Airlines (CAL) on August 9 plan to start code sharing on services between Newark Liberty International Airport
and (DAT)/(EBA)’s base at Brussels Airport. With this accord, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will place its ‘SN’ designator code on Continental (CAL)’s daily transatlantic services, as well as on domestic services to Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, and Orlando. The deal also places Continental(CAL)’s ‘CO’ code on Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA)’s flights to Bologna, Italy; Bristol, London Heathrow, and Newcastle, UK; Hannover, Germany;
and Lyon, Marseilles, Paris Charles de Gaulle, and Toulouse in France.
Continental (CAL) will also code share on 12 cities with Brussels
Airlines (DAL)/(EBA)’s extensive African network. These are Accra,
Ghana; Banjul, Gambia; Bujumbura, Burundi; Cotonou, Benin; Dakar, Senegal; Douala and Yaounde, Cameroon; Entebbe, Uganda; Kigali, Rwanda; Monrovia, Liberia; Nairobi, Kenya; and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
September 2010: Brussels Airlines (BRU)/(EBA) as the Belgian flag carrier, operates an extensive European and African network serving more than >70 destinations in 11 countries from its main hub at Brussels. Long-haul flights are operated to several points in East, Central, and West Africa. Code share agreements with around 20 carriers extend the network to North America,the Indian sub-continent, the Middle East and the Far East. The airline offers a range of other services including chartering, maintenance and training of cockpit (FC) and cabin crews (CA).
Employees = 3,000.
(IATA) Code: SN - 082. (ICAO) Code: BEL (Callsign - BEELINE).
Parent organization/shareholders: SN Air Holding (100%).
Airline subsidiaries/shareholdings: AirDC (49%); and Korongo.
Alliances: Air Malta (MLT); Air Uganda; Alitalia (ALI); American Airlines (AAL); BMI (BMA); British Airways (BAB); Cyprus Airways (CYP); El Al (ELA); Ethiopian Airlines (ETH); Etihad Airways (EHD); Finnair (FIN); Jet Airways (JPL); (LOT) Polish Airlines; Lufthansa (DLH); Malev (HGA); Malmo Aviation (TSW); Royal Air Maroc (RAM); Rwandair (RWA); Swiss International Airlines (CSR); TAROM (TRM); & Ukraine International Airlines (UKA).
Main Base: Brussels National airport (BRU).
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will launch a second daily, Brussels – Athens (ATH) frequency in March 2011 aboard an A319. The flights will carry the Aegean Airlines (CRM) code. Aegean (CRM) flights from (ATH) to Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Heraklion, and Chania in Crete will carry the SN code.
October 2010: Estonian Air (ENA) and Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) signed a code share agreement under which (DAT)/(EBA)'s code will be placed on (ENA)’s 3x-weekly, 737-500 Tallinn – Brussels service from October 31.
Brussels Airlines (DBA)/(EBA) named Wencke Lemmes-Pireaux, VP Commercial & Corporate Communications.
January 2011: A319-112 (4275, OO-SSR), ex-(N275MX), and A320-214 (1441, OO-SNA; 1493, OO-SNB), ex-Air Berlin (BER)/(LTU), deliveries.
March 2011: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) took delivery of the first of two ex-Mexicana (CMA) A319s it is slated to receive as part of the renewal of its short- and medium-haul fleet. (DAT)/(EBA) plans to replace five of its 14 Avro RJ85s with four A319s and two A320s.
Six of the Avros come off lease this year, but (DAT)/(EBA) will retain one and return the five others to BAE Systems. All six A320 family airplanes are expected to be delivered by the end of the summer schedule and will be equipped with the new Recaro Aircraft Seating B3520 “lightweight” seat, which was developed for Lufthansa (DLH). Austrian Airlines (AUL) and Swiss International Air Lines (CSR) will also fit their short- and medium-range fleet with the seat.
“The introduction of six Airbus airplanes in the course of this year, together with a new seat, is an investment of Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) in comfort, efficiency and environmental concern,” Co-(CEO), Bernard Gustin commented. “This way, (DAT)/(EBA) becomes more attractive to the customers and more competitive on certain routes.”
(DAT)/(EBA), which is 45% owned by (DLH), will expand its European network this summer with three new destinations — to Marrakech, Agadir and Lamezia Terme — and increase frequencies and/or seat capacity on a number of destinations in Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, and Israel. On average, it will operate 806 flights on European routes, up +3.6% on the year-ago period, while seat capacity will increase by about +10% compared to 2010.
(DAT)/(EBA) also confirmed it concluded a two-year wet-lease (ACMI) agreement with (AUL) subsidiary Tyrolean Airways for the Brussels - Hanover route as of March 27. The route is operated by Augsburg Airways using a Dash 8-Q400.
October 2011: Lufthansa Technik Malta was selected by Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) to provide "C" checks for five A330s.
November 2011: The USA Department of Transportation (DOT) has approved the application by several Star (SAL) Alliance member carriers to include Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) in the scope of their transatlantic antitrust immunity (ATI) and the Atlantic Plus-Plus agreement.
“We are now addressing all other formalities and technical requirements to become a full member of the joint venture (JV),” (DAT)/(EBA) Executive VP Strategy & Business Development, Erik Follet said.
He reiterated that the transatlantic (ATI), with its Star (SAL) Alliance partners, is clearing the way to launch USA service on its own metal. (DAT)/(EBA) is trying to negotiate slots for New York (either Newark or (JFK)) at the (IATA) slot conference in Singapore.
Thai Airways International (TII) operates the new 3x-weekly, 777-220ER service from November 17. (TII) and (DAT)/(EBA) are negotiating a code share agreement on the route and several points beyond.
Follet said that (JFK) and Newark are valid options, pointing out that (JFK) is not served directly from Brussels Airport (BRU) by any Star (SAL) Alliance carriers. “If we can’t obtain the right slot in our own right, we hope to find a solution [slot] through our USA [SAL] partner,” he said.
(DAT)/(EBA) last month added an A330-200, on dry lease from Swiss International Air Lines (CSR), and is looking to add a seventh A330 to support the USA service. “We’re initially looking within the Lufthansa Group,” Follet said.
(DAT)/(EBA) has increased passenger numbers +20% on the year-ago period, but is expected to post a loss of around -€70 million/-$94.5 million for the year, mainly owing to high fuel prices and the difficult European environment.
In April, Air Canada (ACN), the Austrian Airlines (AUL) Group, British Midland (bma), Continental Airlines (CAL), Lufthansa (DLH), (LOT) Polish Airlines, (SAS) Scandinavian Airlines, (CSR), (TAP) Portugal and United Airlines (UAL), asked the (DOT) to include (DAT)/(EBA) in the scope of their (ATI) and the Atlantic Plus-Plus agreement. The request was filed as a joint motion.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will add three frequencies on its Brussels - Moscow route, nearly doubling the number of flights between the two capitals to 13 weekly flights by the summer schedule 2012.
Markku Ahteela, (DAT)/(EBA) Area Manager Nordic Countries & Russian Federation, said the new route became possible owing to the changes made in bilateral agreements between Belgium and Russia. The negotiations between the two countries were complicated and took nearly three years. They were finalized at the end of 2010, enabling (DAT)/(EBA) and Aeroflot (SU) to operate 14x-weekly on the Brussels - Moscow route. (ARO) operates 10x-weekly in the winter schedule 2011/2012; it is not known if (ARO) will add new frequencies.
During the first 10 months of 2011, (DAT)/(EBA) carried 58,000 passengers between Brussels and Moscow and expects to carry 7,000 passengers during the last two months of the year, bringing the total to 65,000 passengers for the year. (DAT)/(EBA) plans to carry a total of 6 million people in 2011.
When (DAT)/(EBA) adds three more weekly flights to the Brussels - Moscow route, it will use most of the permitted frequencies. Airline representatives admit they will have to force negotiations between the countries for further development. According to Ahteela, (DAT)/(EBA) is interested in not only adding frequencies to Moscow but launching flights to other destinations in the country, such as Saint Petersburg. But for now (DAT)/(EBA) doesn’t have permission to fly to any other Russian cities.
December 2011: The European Commission (EC) raided the premises of Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) and (TAP) Portugal (TP) in Belgium and Portugal, as part of its investigation to verify whether the carriers’ code share agreements are in breach of (EU) antitrust rules.
“While the (EC) was so far rather concerned about possible effects that code share agreements may have had for consumers, it now has, in addition, reasons to suspect illegal collusion between the parties,” it said.
(EC) officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities.
The (EC) opened the investigation in February. It also opened a similar probe into the code share practice between Lufthansa (DLH) and Turkish Airlines (THY) on the Munich - Istanbul Ataturk (IST) and Frankfurt - (IST) routes. The (DAT)/(EBA) - (TAP) investigation concerns the Brussels to Lisbon route, where the carriers are the only operators.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will increase Brussels service in April to Yaounde (2x- to 6x-weekly), Douala (3x-weekly to daily), Abidjan (to daily), Nairobi (3x- to 4x-weekly), and Bujumbura (2x- to 3x-weekly). (DAT)/(EBA) will cease service to Accra, replaced by code share flights over Frankfurt with Star Alliance (SAL) partner, Lufthansa (DLH).
January 2012: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will begin flights to New York Kennedy Airport (JFK) on June 1st using A330s. Until now, (DAT)/(EBA) limited is longhaul flying to Africa. The old Sabena (SAB) once flew the route before collapsing after "9/11." And today, Delta (DAL), American (AAL), United (UAL)/(CAL) and even Jet Airways (JPL) all fly it ((UAL)/(CAL) from Newark and (JPL) from both (JFK) and Newark (EWA)).
(DAT)/(EBA) has given up services to Accra from March 25.
Other new services are:
Brussels National - Abidjan - Lomé - Brussels National: weekly A330-300 service has started on October 31 (replacing routing via Accra, will increase to 2x weekly from March 25 but in opposite direction);
Brussels National - Abidjan - Monrovia - Brussels National: weekly A330-300 service has started on November 4 (two other weekly services still operate in opposite direction);
Brussels National - Accra - Lomé - Brussels National: weekly A330-300 service between November 4 and March 25 (replacing routing in opposite direction, in addition to two weekly Brussels National - Bamako - Accra services);
Brussels National - Bamako - Ouagadougou - Brussels National: 2x-weekly A330-300 service starting on March 25 (replaces Bamako - Accra and Ouagadougou - Cotonou routings);
Brussels National - Conakry - Banjul - Brussels National: 2x-weekly A330-300 service starting on March 25 (replaces routing in opposite direction);
Brussels National - Cotonou - Abidjan - Brussels National: 2x-weekly A330-300 service starting on March 25 (replacing Ouagadougou - Cotonou routing);
Brussels National - Douala - Yaoundé: 6x-weekly A330-300 service starting on March 25 (replacing non-stops to Yaoundé, in addition to a weekly Brussels National - Douala - Kinshasa N’Djili service);
Brussels National - Freetown - Banjul - Brussels National: 2x-weekly A330-300 service starting on March 25 (replaces routing in opposite direction);
Brussels National - Kinshasa N’Djili: 4x-weekly A330-300 service starting on March 26 (replacing one-stops via Yaoundé, in addition to a weekly Brussels National - Douala - Kinshasa N’Djili service and 2x-weekly Brussels National - Luanda - Kinshasa N’Djili - Brussels National triangular flights);
Brussels Airlines has also been authorized by the USA and (EU) authorities to be added to the transatlantic joint venture (JV) "Atlantic Plus-Plus" of parent Lufthansa (DLH) and its sister carriers Austrian Airlines (AUL), bmi British Midland International (BMA) and Swiss (CSR) with its North American alliance partners Air Canada (ACN) and United Airlines (UAL).
The offices of Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) and Star (SAL) Alliance partner, (TAP) Portugal (TP/Lisbon) have recently been raided as part of an (EU) investigation into potential price fixing on routes between Belgium and Portugal. Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) has given up its Brussels National - Palma de Mallorca route already and will terminate its Brussels National - Seville route on April 16.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will invest €30 million/$38.3 million to revamp the interiors of its wide body fleet, comprising five A330-300 and two A330-200s. Business (C) class will be fitted with full-flat beds with built-in (LED) mood lighting; economy (Y) seats will be equipped with the (IMS) Company’s innovative seat-centric (RAVE) in-flight entertainment (IFE) system.
Co-(CEO), Bernard Gustin said the cabin upgrade will give “a new dimension to the term ‘passenger comfort.’ Customers boarding a Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) long-haul airplane will have the feeling they are entering a brand new airplane. If we compare this level of comfort to the product of other airlines on transatlantic flights or routes to and from Africa, we can conclude that we will become a real precursor and trendsetter of quality in terms of seats, relax possibilities, leg room and entertainment technology.”
(DAT)/(EBA), in which Lufthansa (DLH) holds 45%, has six A330s with the seventh, an A330-200 arriving in a couple of months. The first refurnished airplane will be placed into service from spring, and by year end, all seven airplanes will be fitted with the new seats, lavatories and galleys. (DAT)/(EBA)'s new daily scheduled services to New York (JFK) operate with the new in-flight product and the upgrade will be gradually available on the African network. Lufthansa Technik Malta will perform the interior retrofits.
Management considered introducing a mid-tier cabin but decided to stick to its current business (C) class/economy (Y) class configuration “as this corresponds better to the demands of our markets. Besides, not one carrier in the Lufthansa (DLH) Group offers a premium-economy product,” VP Communications, Geert Sciot said.
The A330-30Os will have 30C seats in business class and 248Y in economy class; 24C of the 30C business-class seats will have direct aisle access and 10C will have no adjacent seat.
(DAT)/(EBA) is also planning to completely phase out its remaining four 737-300s and four 737-400s. As a first step, it will add another ex-Iberia (IBE) A319-100.
Lubumbashi-based, Korongo Airlines (KGO), partly owned by Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBN) parent, SN Airholding, is expected to begin operations in April, several years after its projected launch.
(KGO) is a joint venture (JV) between SN Airholding and Groupe George Forrest International (GFI). The Belgian-registered holding controls 70% of the Democratic Republic of Congo-registered carrier; local investors own the remaining 30%.
(KGO) Chairman, George Arthur Forrest said the carrier had received all necessary licenses and certificates from the Congolese authorities “allowing the effective start of the airline.” It has approval to import two Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) BAe 146-200s and one 737-300, and to launch domestic and international operations.
The airplanes will remain under Belgian registry and will be wet-leased from (DAT)/(EBA) under a wet-lease (ACMI) agreement. All three airplanes have been painted in the Korongo Airlines (KGO) livery.
In the first phase, (KGO) will operate scheduled 737 services between Lubumbashi airport (FBM) and Kinshasa airport (FIH) as well as between (FB)M and Johannesburg. The (FBM) - (FIH) service will eventually connect to (DAT)/(EBA)’s services from Brussels to (FIH). B Ae 146 service from (FBM) to Mbuji-Maji and Kolwezi will be added in the second phase.
Korongo Airlines (KGO) was expected to launch last year but the Congolese government refused to issue permission for the venture, leading to fears that the $11 million project would have to be abandoned.
Air travel in the vast Central African nation has been crippled by airlines having their licences removed after a series of accidents.
(KGO) is 70% owned by Airbel, in which Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) holds a 51% stake. Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) is 45% owned by Germany's Lufthansa (DLH).
George Forrest International, run by veteran Congo investor George Forrest, holds the other 49% of Airbel.
The other 30% of Korongo Airlines (KGO) is held by Congolese investors.
Henry de Harenne, a spokesman for Forrest, said that "administrative difficulties" were behind the delay in launching the company, which aims to start flying between Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Johannesburg in April.
"The elections and their organization might also have had an influence on that delay. In January, (we got) all the licences and authorizations we were waiting for, so we now have everything we need to start operating," de Harenne added.
Joseph Kabila was re-elected as the country's Prime Minister in a November poll that was widely criticized as fraudulent by the international community and rejected by the opposition. Forrest has been operating in the Congo since 1922, playing a large role in mining and construction. But he has recently had a troubled relationship with the Kabila government.
Another George Forrest company, (EGMF), is locked in a bitter dispute at the court of arbitration in Paris with Congo's state mining company Gecamines over ownership of (CMSK), a copper and cobalt asset in Katanga.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has some of the world's largest copper deposits and is attracting increasing numbers of investors to its mining sector despite the difficult business climate.
A330-223 (249, OO-SFZ), delivery, ex-(HB-IQC).
March 2012: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) has threatened to move its legal headquarters and some labor contracts to another country such as Ireland or Luxembourg unless the Belgian government adjusts its legislation according to reports in Belgian newspapers. Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) is competing with Ryanair (RYR) operating a major base at Brussels Charleroi airport (CRL) southwest of Brussels where all of the flight crews (FC)/cabin attendants (CA) based at the Belgian airport work under Irish employment contracts and work rules.
(DAT)/(EBA) is implementing a new management structure, moving away from the co-(CEO) structure to a single (CEO). The co-(CEO) arrangement has been in place since 2008.
Co-(CEO) Bernard Gustin will become the company’s only (CEO) June 1 when co-CEO Michel Meyfroidt steps down to pursue other interests.
(DAT)/(EBA) said it reorganized its management structure “around three main axes of activity (operations, finance and commercial strategy) to adapt the company’s way of working to the market evolution and to the ever-increasing competition on the level of costs.”
It appointed Peter Kranich as (COO). Kranich comes from Eurowings (EWG), a wholly owned subsidiary of Lufthansa (DLH), where he was responsible for Operations. (DLH) acquired a 45% stake in Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA)’s parent company, SN Airholding in 2008 with an option to acquire the remaining 55%.
VP Controlling, Jan De Raeymaeker was promoted to (CFO) and Executive VP Strategy & Business Development, Erik Follet will become (CCO).
Korongo Airlines (KGO) has announced April 16 as its launch date for scheduled services from its Lubumbashi Luano International Airport (FBM) base. The Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) subsidiary will initially serve Kinshasa N'Djili International airport (FIH) eight times weekly and Johannesburg Oliver Reginald Tambo International airport (JNB) twice weekly, and plans to add Kolwezi airport (KWZ) and Mbuji Mayi airport (MJM) next. Three of the eight weekly Lubumbashi - Kinshasa services will operate as international flights where passengers clear immigration and customs in Lubumbashi and then connect directly from/to Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) flights in Kinshasa.
Flybe (BEE) signed a contract with Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) to provide two Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 airplanes on a wet-lease basis for two years starting March 25.
The Dash 8-Q400s will serve on various routes for (DAT)/(EBA) throughout Europe. The airplanes will carry the "Brussels Airlines" livery.
(BEE) Chairman & (CEO), Jim French called the deal “another very important milestone in Flybe (BEE)’s development and is further confirmation of our reputation as a quality provider of professional ‘turn-key’ solutions in the regional aviation market.”
The (BEE) deal is (DAT)/(EBA)’s third wet-lease agreement for regional airplanes, which allows it to operate higher frequencies on thin routes where its own Avro RJ85/100s are not economical in the current high fuel price environment.
(DAT)/(EBA) has a wet-lease agreement with British Midlands International (bmi) (BMA) regional for two Embraer ERJ-145s and Tyrolean Airways for one Dash 8-Q400 but these airplanes fly under their own brands.
May 2012: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) now flies from Brussels Airport to EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg.
2 A320 (GEF) leased deliveries.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) currently operates a fleet of 47 airplanes to more than >70 destinations.
June 2012: Brussels Airlines ((DAT)/(EBA)) will wet-lease two additional Dash 8-400s from Flybe (BEE) from October to replace the wet-lease contract for two ERJ-145s currently wet-leased from bmi regional. (DAT)/(EBA) currently wet-leases a Dash 8-400 from Tyrolean Airways and two from Flybe (BEE).
July 2012: Thai Airways International (TII) has announced a code share with Star (SAL) Alliance partner, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA). The code share agreement “enables (DAT)/(EBA) to place its SN code on the flights operated by Thai Airways International (TII) in the distribution channels and hence to sell tickets,” according to a (TII) statement.
(TII) operates 3x-weekly, 777 service from Brussels - Bangkok.
“As the operating carrier, the code share agreement between the two carriers will offer passengers greater choice and access in traveling to and from Bangkok - Brussels, with access to other parts of the European Union (EU) as well as parts of Southeast Asia,” (TII) Executive VP Commercial, Pandit Chanapai said.
(DAT)/(EBA) will also launch a weekly (BRU) - Mombasa service on November 2.
September 2012: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EMB) will operate 6x-weekly, Brussels (BRU) - Edinburgh service between October 28 - March 31, operated with 24C, 117Y A319s, doubling to 12x-weekly flights when the summer scheduling season starts at the end of March next year. (DAT) previously code shared on the route with its Star (SAL) Alliance partner bmi (BMA), but competition on the route now comes from the successor airline bmi regional’s 18x-weekly. (DAT) will increase 3x-weekly, (BRU) - Kigali service to 4x-weekly from the end of October. It canceled the launch of services to Mombasa.
December 2012: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), a Lufthansa (DLH) subsidiary, is targeting a -€100 million/-$130.9 million cost reduction in its top-down restructuring plan called “Beyond 2012 - 2013.”
(DAT)/(EBA) (CEO), Bernard Gustin said he hopes to speed up the restructuring process. “Our airline has a good strategy, especially our well-established market Africa; the new route to New York (JFK) is doing well. But we also having problems in Europe like other carriers,” Gustin said.
(DAT)/(EBA) employs 3,500 staff, including 900 cabin crew (CA) and 500 pilots (FC). (DAT)/(EBA) is working to bring in more job flexibility and increase productivity to avoid staff cuts.
Gustin said (DAT)/(EBA), which is a relatively young carrier, has had a difficult time in the business. “We are lean, which means it would be difficult to reduce staff; it is better to increase productivity,” he said.
“We will try to phase out 12 Avro 100s, our last Avro RJ85s are leaving the fleet right now,” Gustin said. The regional jets will be replaced with A319 and A320s as well as wet leases for Bombardier (BMB) Dash 8-Q400s.
(DAT)/(EBA) announced a -€80 million loss in 2011.
February 2013: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will launch 5x-weekly, Brussels - Washington Dulles A330 service on June 18. The route is (DAT)/(EBA)’s second transatlantic destination, following the launch of Brussels - New York service in June 2012. Code share partner, United Airlines (UAL) already operates a daily service on the route, bringing the combined offering to 12x-weekly flights. Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) says it will add an eighth A330 to facilitate the new route.
September 2013: Luxembourg’s (BCO) sàrl will manage a special livery project on three A319s and two A330s operated by Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) for special marketing of a music festival. (BCO) will apply special aviation micro-perforated film to the airplane fuselage and install interior decorations on overhead bins, galleys and lavatories.
Brussels Airlines (DAT) is establishing a new dual management structure for its operations, beginning October 1. Current (COO), Peter Kranich, who will step down September 30, will be replaced by VP Corporate Development, Dirk Vrebos and VP Flight Operations, Thibault Demoulin. Both will be given new roles and titles under the new structure, which will be under the supervision of (CEO), Bernard Gustin.
(DAT)/(EBA) said that Vrebos will now be VP Operations, deputy accountable, responsible for ground operations, security and maintenance. This structure consists of around 1100 employees.
Demoulin will now be VP Operations, deputy accountable, responsible for flight operations. In his new role, Demoulin, an Airbus (EDS) A330 captain, will head the pilots (FC), cabin crew (CA), and operations center of the company, which together are around 1,700 employees.
October 2013: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) has named Xavier Lagardère as VP Online Retail & Distribution. He will be responsible for further development of (DAT)/(EBA)’s online business.
November 2013: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will offer daily, Brussels - Washington DC winter service. It also began winter 2x-weekly, Brussels - Alicante service.
(DAT)/(EBA) begins an additional Brussels - Luanda service on January 26 bringing it to 3x-weekly.
December 2013: SEE PHOTO - - "DAT-2013-12 - BELGIAN DEVILS" showing Brussel Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) A320-214 (1797, OO-SNC) with "Red Devil" markings to celebrate the Belgian national football (soccer) team's qualification for next June's 2014 World Football Cup Finals in Brazil.
February 2014: A320-214 (1885, OO-SNG - - SEE PHOTO - - "EBA-A320-214-2014-02"), 2014-02,
March 2013: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) added 2x-daily, Brussels - Newcastle service through a code share with bmi regional.
Aer Lingus Regional began 4x-weekly, Dublin - Newcastle ATR 72-600 service.
June 2014: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) expanded its seasonal offering with two new services from Brussels (BRU), both of which are operated twice-weekly using its 132-seat A319s. On June 20th, (DAT)/(EBA) inaugurated the 1,857 km sector to Malta (MLA), which will be served (Fridays and Sundays) until September 12th. Two days later, on June 22nd, (DAT)/(EBA) Brussels launched flights (Wednesdays and Sundays) to Cagliari (CAG), which will be operated until August 31st. While the service to Italy was last served in November 2008, flights to Malta were resumed following a 24-year hiatus. The flag carrier will face competition only on the operations to the Mediterranean island, from Air Malta (MLT)’s daily flights.
(DAT)/(EBA) continued to expand its European network with the addition of three new routes, all of which were launched from its Brussels (BRU) hub being operated with 3x-weekly flights. On June 24th, (DAT)/(EBA) inaugurated the 1,440 km sector until September 13th to Bari (BRI), using its 132-seat A319s. This route was last served in November 2007. The same day, it also launched operations to Montpellier (MPL) until September 13th using its 132-seat A319s. Lastly, on June 27th, the Star (SAL) Alliance member commenced flights on the 1,088 km sector to Krakow (KRK), utilizing a mixed fleet of its 132-seat A319s and 97-seat Avro RJ100s. The Polish airport pair was last operated in January 2013 and will see a frequency increase to four times weekly from September 1st. There is no competition on any of the three new airport pairs.
July 2014: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) begins 6x-weekly, Brussels - Riga service from the end of October.
(DAT)/(EBA) increases African service for winter: In Cameroon, increases by one service each Brussels - Douala (6x-weekly) and – Yaounde (5x-weekly). In Angola, Brussels - Luanda goes to 3x-weekly from 2x. From October 26, Nairobi gets two flights added for 5x-weekly service. Kigali and Bujumbura each get one added service for 5x-weekly and 3x-weekly, respectively.
(BOC) Aviation (SIL), which specializes in aviation markings and airplane film-based decoration, was appointed by Brussels Airlines ((DAT)/(EBA) to give an Airbus A330-300, Belgian National Football (soccer) Team flags and Red Devils colors (for the (FIFA) World Cup).
September 2014: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) resumed flights from Brussels (BRU) to Warsaw Chopin (WAW) on September 14th, a sector last operated in October 2012. The 1,149 km route to Warsaw’s main gateway will be served 13x-weekly, utilizing (DAT)/(EBA)’s 97-seat Avro RJ100s. Competition on the new airport pair is provided by (LOT) Polish Airlines’ 3x-daily flights.
Following the merger of SN Brussels Airlines (the successor to defunct Sabena (SAB)) (DAT) and Brussels-based, low-cost carrier (LCC) Virgin Express in 2007, (EBA), the “new” flag carrier of Belgium, (Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA)) was born. Two years later, Lufthansa (DLH) bought 45% of (DAT)/(EBA) and took over the remainder in 2011. As a result of the new partnership, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) joined the Star (SAL) Alliance in December 2009. The airline itself promotes the fact that it operates a fleet of 47 units, including 16 A319s, six A320s, eight A330s, 13 RJ100s/RJ85s, three Dash 8-Q400s and one ERJ 145. Based at the gateway to the European capital, (DAT)/(EBA) serves over >60 destinations in 30 countries within Europe, North Africa, North America and the Middle East.
As the biggest airline at Brussels (where it commands around 32% of all weekly seats this September, followed by Jetairfly (TUB) and Ryanair (RYR) with 7.7% and 5.7% respectively), Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) carried close to six million passengers last year (a new record high), representing an increase of +2.1% over 2012 figures. In fact, 2013 was an excellent year, as its load factor went up +0.5% and capacity (ASK)s grew by +5.3%. Nevertheless, with a number of new additions to its network this year, including the resumption of services to Warsaw Chopin on September 14th with 13 weekly flights, (DAT)/(EBA) is likely to continue its growth in 2014. Furthermore, (DAT)/(EBA) will also commence six weekly flights to Riga starting October 26th.
Overall, looking at passenger development from 2007, when the new operator emerged, Brussels Airlines’ traffic posted a decrease of -8.4% in 2009, due to the global economic recession strongly affecting the air transport industry. With that exception, (DAT)/(EBA) has achieved growth every year, recording an annual average growth rate (measured in (CAGR)) of +2.1% over this time frame. In addition, its load factors have fluctuated between 62.7% LF and 69.1% LF over this period. In the first seven months of 2014, for which traffic data is already available, (DAT)/(EBA) posted an increase of +10%, when compared to the corresponding period of the previous year, with 3.7 million passengers achieved until the end of July. If the airline continues on this growth trajectory, it would set a new record close to 6.5 million passengers this year.1
(DAT)/(EBA) operates 66 non-stop services, with the top dozen airport pairs accounting for 41% of all weekly seats. Even though it posted a yearly decrease of -3.6%, the 533 km sector to Geneva still accounts for the majority of weekly capacity in 2014, being served with a total of 39 weekly departures from Brussels - - SEE ATTACHED CHART - - "EBA-2014-09 - TOP 12 ROUTES." Geneva may be the airline’s biggest route, but it competes with easyJet’ (EZY)'s 16 weekly flights. Usual suspects (Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris (CDG)) are conspicuous by their absence; however, part of this is down to geography (Brussels is just 160 km from Amsterdam and 300 km from Frankfurt), while (CDG) is served 2x-daily by the carrier’s A320s. The airline’s long-haul network is heavily focused on Africa, a legacy of Belgium’s colonial involvement in the continent, where it serves 12 destinations in 10 countries.
Brussels Airlines’ weekly seat capacity experienced +7.8% growth this September, with seven of the top 12 airport pairs growing, when comparing to data from the corresponding week last year. The link to Venice is the fastest growing route, having increased by +38% or 646 weekly seats in the past 12 months. This comes as a result of the (DAT)/(EBA) having replaced 16 of its weekly RJ100 operations with A319/A320 flights. By comparison, the Brussels - London Heathrow airport pair provided the greatest capacity decrease (-8%).
Brussels Airlines flies to a total of 30 countries in Europe, North Africa, North America and the Middle East. The airline’s top 12 country markets - - SEE ATTACHED CHART - - "EBA-2014-09 - TOP 12 COUNTRY MARKETS" account for 82% of all weekly seats this summer, which is down -2% from last year’s figures. Following a yearly increase of +11% this September, Italy still accounts for the majority of weekly capacity, being served with a combined 190 weekly flights to Bologna, Catania, Rome Fiumicino, Florence, Milan Linate, Milan Malpensa, Naples, Palermo, Turin and Venice. The USA is the only country market in this year’s ranking (highlighted in bright green) served by Brussels Airlines outside Europe. (DAT)/(EBA) operates services from its hub to Washington Dulles and New York (JFK).
A total of eight of the top dozen country markets experienced growth this month, while (DAT)/(EBA)’s operations to the USA have remained unchanged. The stand out performance is that emanating from services to Spain, having increased by 16% or 1,499 weekly seats in the past 12 months. Besides the fact that Brussels Airlines increased its frequency to Malaga from 2x-daily to 17x-weekly, the Star (SAL) Alliance carrier also commenced 3x-weekly flights to Seville on April 1 and to Alicante on October 26, 2013. On the other hand, Switzerland witnessed the greatest capacity decrease (-2.8%).
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) has retired the AVRO RJ-85 jet airplane from revenue service after its sole remaining airplane of the type, (E2287, OO-DJP), operated its final scheduled service on September 19.
As it stands, (DAT)/(EBA) will continue to operate BAe Systems ((IATA) Code: B1, based at Warton) airplanes in the form of twelve AVRO RJ-100s used on flights throughout Scandinavia, Western and Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean.
October 2014: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) begins 6x-weekly, Brussels - Riga seasonal service on October 26. It also begins Brussels - Warsaw (13x-weekly) and – Krakow (4x-weekly). Tel Aviv flights for the winter increase from 8x-weekly to 10x.
November 2014: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) which grew by +2.1% in 2013, begans 6x-weekly, Brussels - Riga seasonal service on October 26. It also began Brussels - Warsaw (13x-weekly) and – Krakow (4x-weekly). Tel Aviv flights for the winter increase from 8x-weekly to 10x. As a Star (SAL) Alliance member, (DAT)/(EBA) is already flying to Vilnius in Lithuania with five weekly operations.
December 2014: News Item A-1: "For All of 2014's Heartbreaks, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) Made a Brave Call on Ebola" by Air Transport World (ATW)'s Karen Walker's Blog:
2014 was a tough year for the air transport industry. The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flt MH370 777, the shooting down of (MAS) Flt MH17 777 and crash of Indonesian AirAsia (AWR) Flt QZ8501 A320 each have left flight numbers etched into airline history and families forever bereft.
The industry was also challenged by another human tragedy, the Ebola virus outbreak. That hit the headlines again right at the end of the year when a Scottish health worker was diagnosed with Ebola after returning from Sierra Leone to the UK via flights with Royal Air Maroc (RAM) and British Airways (BAB).
Although the chances of anyone else on those flights becoming infected are extremely low (practically negligible) there was the inevitable call for heightened screening processes.
But there’s another side to the Ebola story that has been far less told and which bears testimony to how life’s tragedies can bring out the best in many people (including those in this very people-focused airline industry).
It’s a little known fact that Belgium-based Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) is the only European carrier still serving the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown. Other carriers suspended services after the Ebola outbreak, but Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) has continued its twice-weekly Airbus A330-300 service, providing a rare and essential airplane conduit for medical equipment and transporting health workers between Europe and the stricken African country.
Why does Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) do this? “We feel it is our humanitarian duty,” (DAT)/(EBA)’s VP External Communications, Geert Sciot told journalists at (IATA)’s annual media briefing day in Geneva in mid-December.
(DAT)/(EBA)’s decision, Sciot admitted, has not been a good one from the airline’s business perspective. “If you look at it from a Marketing perspective, I think it would be better to stop flying because your brand will not become better from that,” he said. “You get a lot of respect and support from the countries, from the governments, but Marketing-wise and for your brand, it is not the best thing to do.”
Some people have avoided flying on (DAT)/(EBA) since it became known that it was continuing its Sierra Leone services and transporting health workers, so passenger numbers are down.
Compare that attitude with workers such as Margaret Ann Harris of the World Health Organization (WHO), who briefed us at that media day on the facts of Ebola. Harris showed slides of herself, colleagues and other aid workers (many of them volunteers) at work in those West African countries where there have been some 18,000 reported cases of Ebola and at least 6,000 deaths. They risk their lives daily, but they also understand the real risks and how to mitigate them.
Closing borders, suspending transport options and quarantining are neither necessary nor the solution, Harris said. For one thing, it drives people underground, makes people reluctant to report suspected cases, and cuts off critical economic drivers, when they are most needed.
She explained that Ebola can only be transmitted via direct contact, and for someone to be infectious, they would be so obviously sick and debilitated, that it would be highly unlikely they could get through the airport or board a plane. Therefore, the chances of anyone catching the virus while on a plane are practically zero.
“We’ve seen massive overreaction worldwide,” Harris said. “Closing borders, putting people in quarantine just makes people deny their symptoms, it makes people hide and once people hide a disease like that, that unfortunately is the very best way to spread.”
She said that much of the transmission of the virus in Africa’s affected nations has been due to very poor sanitation and to burial rituals that are extremely important within local cultures, but which involve a lot of handling of the corpses.
In a typical Western environment, those risks are mostly eliminated. And here’s the biggest point about Ebola: the most effective method of killing it, is with soap and water.
“Yes, soap and water. Wash your hands,” Harris emphasized. “It’s a virus that’s eminently killable.” And she demonstrated the correct way to thoroughly wash your hands in a way that destroys the virus: vigorous washing for at least 60 second, linking your hands together, fingers overlapped so that all parts of the hand and wrists gets a thorough cleansing.
(IATA) has worked closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and regulatory authorities to ensure that airlines know the recommended precautions they should take. Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) has followed those guidelines and given crews the option not to participate in the Sierra Leone flights.
To date, no one has been infected on board a Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) flight.
That’s the industry’s true and most inspiring story of 2014.
News Item A-2: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) this year will operate 824 charter flights for leisure specialist Thomas Cook (JMA)/(GUE), up +26% year-over-year, as the two companies strengthen their strategic ties.
(DAT)/(EBA) and (JMA)/(GUE) began cooperating in 2002 and last year Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) operated 654 flights for the holiday group. This is set to increase +26% in 2015. “This year the partnership will have an even more strategic character,” (DAT)/(EBA) said.
Thomas Cook (JMA)/(GUE) will also use (DAT)/(EBA) scheduled flights for additional lift, as well as the charter services. “Next to our own airplane fleet, (JMA)/(GUE) will use Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) more than ever to get travelers to holiday destinations in the Mediterranean,” Thomas Cook (JMA)/(GUE) (CCO), Jan Dekeyser said.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will add 11 new destinations this summer, including the holiday island of Ibiza. This will join its scheduled short-haul leisure destinations, which include Catania, Seville, Alicante, Barcelona, Faro, Malaga, Lourdes, Olbia, Naples, and Palermo.
News Item A-3: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) named Steve Tarbuck as VP Ground Operations & Airport. Together with his teams, he will manage and further develop (EBA)/(DAT)’s Ground Operations & Airport Services, in line with the Brussels Airlines’ strategy to emphasize customer experience and service.
February 2015: News Item A-1: Brussels Airlines Launches “Africa is not Ebola” Campaign & Maintains a Proud Airline Tradition" February 12, 2015 by Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog:
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), the ‘little airline that could’ with an heroic effort during the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, has launched a campaign, it hopes will help the continent recover from the lingering and devastating economic impact of the epidemic.
Today, at the Residence of the Belgian Ambassador in Washington DC, Belgium-based Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) launched an initiative called “Africa is not Ebola.”
As (DAT)/(EBA) says, although the virus is by now present in only three out of 56 African countries, tourists, investors, and consumers still avoid regions even far from the affected countries. And March and April are peak tourist season months.
“For Africa to be able to flourish again, it’s time to remind the world of the beauty and economic potential, Africa has to offer,” (DAT)/(EBA) said.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) has already provided a huge service to those West African countries that suffered the brunt of the epidemic. As written in this blog in December, (DAT)/(EBA) is the only European carrier still serving Sierra Leone. Other carriers suspended services after the Ebola outbreak, but (DAT)/(EBA) has continued a twice-weekly Airbus A330-300 service, providing an essential airplane bridge for medical equipment and health workers.
Today at the Ambassador’s residence, (DAT)/(EBA)’s (CEO), Bernard Gustin explained the story of his company’s involvement in the campaign to the Belgian ambassador and a group of African ambassadors and other dignitaries. He was joined by representatives of the International Rescue Committee, which has joined forces with Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) in this initiative.
The first thing to note is that, one after another, African ambassadors expressed their profound thanks to Gustin and (DAT)/(EBA) for the lifeline it maintained.
Gustin said the reason he remained committed to this cause was because, as bad as the epidemic was, the even more dangerous threat to Africa, is the international hysteria crisis that followed. “The Ebola crisis has to be solved by Africans supported by Americans and Europeans. The hysteria crisis has to be solved by Americans and Europeans supported by Africans,” he said.
I spoke with Gustin after the launch presentation. He told me that there came a moment last fall, when (DAT)/(EBA) suddenly found itself alone; all other European carriers had stopped their Sierra Leone operations.
“Usually it’s good news to find you have no competition, but in this situation, that was not good news,” Gustin told me. “We suddenly had another type of responsibility, because if we stopped operations, the bridge was over.”
Gustin said (DAT)/(EBA)’s Sabena (SAB) heritage was a significant factor in the decisions that followed. “We always had this tradition. My predecessors at Sabena (SAB) never stopped operations in African countries through difficult times. We always flew to Uganda, even through the darkest days of the Idi Amin regime.”
Nevertheless, maintaining even just two flights a week was a complex, costly and time-consuming task. After Senegal closed its borders, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) had to move its flight crew base to Dakar, requiring longer duty times and rota changes. New procedures and information channels had to be set up. Some 900 flight crew (FC) - (CA), as well as 20 West African ground-based staff (MT)) was educated by doctors on the risks and how to mitigate them. But, even though those risks were actually quite low, crew ((FC) - (CA)) often faced the additional stress of feeling stigmatized back home in Europe, because people around them were wary for 30 days.
Gustin himself flew to Sierra Leone in October, at the height of the epidemic, to see firsthand, the screening processes at local airports and so that he could understand operations from the crews’ ((FC) - (CA)) perspectives. “They are the real heroes. I have enormous respect for the crew ((FC) - (CA)). They are parents, yet they have gone back tens and tens of times,” he said.
Gustin cited two key moments, when he knew that the company (supported by its unions and employees) - - had made the right call.
On his return flight from Sierra Leone to Brussels last fall, Gustin said the Captain (FC) told everyone on board “thank you for flying with Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) today.” The response was immediate and something Gustin will always remember. “Everyone, I mean everyone on board, called back, ‘thank YOU for flying us!”
And two weeks ago, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) conveyed to Monrovia the first box of vaccinations that have been produced and which are showing positive results.
News Item A-2: Antwerp International Airport will see its renovation begin this year.
Operator French engineering group, Egis plans to build a new departure hall instead of the one existing in the airport building. Its space will reach 3,000 sq m, with capacity increasing to handle up to 2 million passengers per year, from the current 300,000. Egis anticipates launch of the new terminal in the next five years, according to Antwerp airport (CEO), Marcel Buelens. The new hall is estimated to cost €10 - 20 million/$11.4 - 22.3 million and Egis is looking to attract financing.
The operator will begin new parking construction after summer season 2015, and renovate a part of the baggage handling system this spring. The airport needs new baggage belts as Jetairfly (TUB) will launch six new destinations from Antwerp this year, all of them to be operated with Embraer E190s.
Later in 2015, one of the cargo buildings will be destroyed as Egis plans to construct a new several-story parking garage in its place. The operator is also negotiating with the local railroad company to establish a new station at the airport. The airport expects to handle 200,000 passengers this year.
Antwerp-based, (VLM) Airlines is to launch the Sukhoi Superjet SSJ100LR in Europe. The carrier inked a letter of intent to take two SSJ100LRs on 12-year lease from Russia’s Ilyushin Finance last October. (VLM) has not disclosed its route network for the new type yet.
Egis was awarded concessions for Ostend-Bruges and Antwerp airports in July 2013 for a 25-year term; the company started operating Antwerp in October 2014. The group manages 14 airports worldwide, but only four of them are in Europe. Besides the two regional airports in Belgium, the company operates to Larnaca and Paphos airports in Cyprus.
March 2015: News Item A-1: Spanish budget carrier Vueling (VUZ) and Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will launch flights to Saint Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport in the (IATA) 2015 summer season, despite Russia’s international traffic decrease.
According to a Pulkovo Airport statement, Vueling (VUZ) plans to start Malaga - Saint Petersburg Airbus A320 weekly services in May; services are expected to increase to 2x-weekly in June. (VUZ) currently operates flights to Saint Petersburg from Barcelona and Alicante.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) plans to launch weekly, Brussels - Saint Petersburg Airbus A319 services on March 30.
Russia’s Transaero (TRX) will launch flights to Shanghai; China Southern Airlines (GUN) plans to launch Urumqi flights and Ukrainian International Airlines (UKR) is expected to start flying from Odessa.
Aeroflot Group member Rossiya Airlines (SDM) will launch daily Saint Petersburg - Chisinau Antonov An-148 service, while Air Astana (AKZ) adds flights from Almaty and Astana. (SDM) will also operate 4x-weekly A320 service to Almaty and 3x-weekly services to Astana. Rossiya (SDM) is expected to increase the frequencies at these destinations.
The airlines are increasing the number of flights despite the international traffic decrease, which is due to the change of currency exchange rates. Local airlines are also increasing the number of domestic destinations and flights. In February, Russia’s regional carrier RusLine Airline resumed regional flights from Saint Petersburg to Belgorod, Ivanovo, Kirov and Yaroslavl. Red Wings Airlines (RWZ) is expected to start flights from Saint Petersburg to Grozny, Simferopol, and Makhachkala.
May 2015: An air traffic control technical failure closed Belgian airspace on May 27th, which caused hundreds of flights to be either canceled or diverted.
The problem began at 0945 local time. Eurocontrol recently tweeted there will be a “gradual restarting of systems that will start with some flights to/from Brussels.”
As of 1 pm local time, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) had to cancel 85 flights, including four long-haul flights to Africa,” airline spokesperson Wencke Lemmes said.
She added that more than >40% of planned flights had to be canceled; seven so far have been diverted to other airports. “This affected more than >11,000 passengers from Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA). We do hope that we can operate several other long haul flights, like to New York (JFK), later during the day,” Lemmes said.
Until noon, Zaventem had to cancel 109 flights; 25 had been diverted to other airports around Europe, including Frankfurt, Paris, and Maastricht Aachen.
No exact details had been given what is the cause of the technical failure. The airspace closure does not impact overflights above FL245 (approximately 24,500 feet) as these are controlled by the Maastricht Upper Area Control Center, which is unaffected.
June 2015: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will begin new weekly Brussels - Tenerife South service in October.
July 2015: News Item A-1: Brussels Airlines (DAT) begins 4x-weekly service to Accra on October 26.
News Item A-2: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) has teamed up with the Air Logistics Group (ALG), as it seeks to further develop its cargo business and increase tonnage +6% in 2015.
Over the last five years, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) cargo business has seen double-digit growth. In 2014, it carried more than >41,000 tons of belly cargo, with North Atlantic volumes up +34% and African revenues climbing +8%.
“Brussels Airlines Cargo is more than ever a strategic revenue contributor of our business, and we foresee a further growth of our tonnage by +6% in 2016,” Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) VP Sales Africa & Cargo, Philippe Saeys-Desmedt said.
With cargo’s growing role, (DAT)/(EBA) has appointed (ALG) as its general sales and service agent. Under the partnership, (ALG) will represent Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) Cargo worldwide with effect from September 1, although the Belgian carrier’s cargo department will continue to sell its African freight capacity directly.
“Together we are very complementary, as we have extensive experience in the Asian and USA markets, while Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) is the Africa expert, with their unique and comprehensive network of destinations on the continent,” (ALG) (COO), Stephen Dawkins said.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) has a fleet of 49 airplanes, operating 300 daily flights between Europe, Africa and the USA.
September 2015: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) launched services between Brussels (BRU) and Bremen (BRE) on September 14. The 377 km sector will operate 5x-weekly (Monday through Friday), with the airport pair facing no incumbent carriers. Services will be flown using ERJ 145s, operated for (DAT)/(EBA) by bmi regional. Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) already serves Berlin Tegel, Hamburg and Hannover in Germany with non-stop flights. In total (DAT)/(EBA) now serves 76 destinations non-stop from its Belgian hub.
October 2015: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) commenced services between Brussels (BRU) and Accra (ACC) on October 26. The 5,052 km sector will operate 4x-weekly using the Star (SAL) Alliance member’s A330-200s, and faces no direct competition from any incumbent carriers. To see a more in-depth report of the Accra launch, see anna.aero’s live coverage of the event. The previous day, (DAT)/(EBA) started services from the Belgian capital to Tenerife South (TFS). The 3,093 km link to the Canary Island airport will operate 2x-weekly, facing direct competition from Jetairfly (TUB) and Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium (TCW) which operate a combined 17 weekly flights. The link to the Spanish island will be flown utilizing the (TCW)’s A320s.
December 2015: News Item A-1: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will phase out its fleet of Avro RJ100 regional jets by the end of 2017, replacing them with a mix of Airbus (EDS) types, (DAT)/(EBA) said on December 4.
(DAT)/(EBA) has 12 Avros. They will start to leave the fleet next April, with four having departed by the end of the 2016 summer season. The remainder will gradually go over the following year. All are leased.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) intends to replace the British-built Avros, which last rolled off the production line in 2001, with A319s and A320s, although not on a one-for-one basis, given the (EDS) aircraft’s greater capacity. The first A320 arrived earlier this year, while two more, plus an A319 will arrive in April 2016, with more due later.
The announcement will further diminish the fleet of Avros in Europe, which will shrink sharply in the next few years, as both Swiss (CSR) and CityJet transition from the four-engined type. The Avro has been popular with airlines and at city-center airports, notably London City, for its rugged undercarriage and quiet operation, respectively. However, maintenance costs are now increasing as the fleet ages.
As Avros are retired in Europe, they are finding new homes in Africa and Australasia, notably for “fly-in, fly-out” services to airstrips by operators servicing contracts to ferry personnel to remote oilfields or mines.
News Item A-2: "Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) Expands its Wide Body Fleet with Two A330s" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann, December 23, 2015.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) plans to add two Airbus A330 aircraft to its fleet and launch flights from Brussels to Toronto, as well as increase its presence in Africa and the USA. “This important expansion plan is a significant investment, both financially and in terms of employment,” (CEO) Bernard Gustin said. “We are creating a larger offering for our growing number of passengers as well as for our cargo clients.”
(DAT)/(EBA), the Lufthansa (DLH) subsidiary, and Star (SAL) Alliance member will add a ninth Airbus A330 to its fleet in spring 2016 and launch 5x-weekly flights to Toronto from April to fill the void of Jet Airways (JPL), which recently announced it will close its Brussels hub and move to Amsterdam Schiphol.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will continue to focus on African growth and will add extra flights to Kigali (Rwanda) and Entebbe (Uganda), bringing the flight frequency to 6x- and 4x-weekly, respectively.
In the upcoming 12 to 15 months, (DAT)/(EBA) will add a 10th A330 to further increase its presence in Africa. It is considering two new routes to Lagos and Libreville. It also plans to add a 6th weekly flight to Washington Dulles in 2016.
(DAT)/(EBA) and Star (SAL) Alliance partner, Air India (AIN)/(IND) are discussing opening a route from Brussels to Mumbai, which is also in response to the departure of Jet Airways (JPL) from Brussels.
January 2016: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will operate 2x-weekly, Thessaloniki and Macedonia in summer 2016.
February 2016: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) on February 15 launched direct flights between its Brussels (BRU) hub and Nuremberg (NUE). (DAT)/(EBA) will operate the 492 km sector 6x-weekly, with the flights being operated by bmi regional ERJ 145s. No other carrier currently serves the city pair directly. Nuremberg becomes Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA)’s 5th destination in Germany, with (DAT)/(EBA) already serving Berlin Tegel, Bremen, Hamburg, and Hannover, while Lufthansa (DLH) serves the Frankfurt and Munich markets from the Belgian capital.
March 2016: News Item A-1: See photo of results of March 22 terror attack:
"EBA-2016-03 - Terror Attack at Brussels Airport.jpg"
Brussels Airport will now be closed through Sunday at least, in the wake of the terrorist attack there on March 22.
The airport said March 25 that it was still uncertain when forensic investigators would finish their work in the terminal and the airport authorities would regain access to the building.
Even after they do so, a survey will have to be conducted on any structural damage as a result of the 2 bomb blasts that killed 11 people and wounded >50.
The authorities will also have to repair or replace destroyed fittings and clean the land side area where the attack occurred. No date for re-opening the terminal has yet been announced.
Passengers who had to leave their vehicles in airport car parks, when the building was evacuated after the bomb blasts are being given time slots over the coming weekend, when they can return to pick up their vehicles.
A bus service from Brussels to Liège and Antwerp, to which Brussels Airlines (DAT) flights have been diverted, has been set up and other airlines are making arrangements for passengers due to use Brussels Zaventem to be re-routed or re-booked.
Several carriers that normally use the Belgian capital have taken up temporary residence in other airports for the duration. Aegean (CRM), for example, will operate out of Lille, northern France, at least through March 28.
News Item A-2: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) reported a 2015 net profit of +€41.3 million/+$45.1 million, reversing a -€4.2 million net loss from 2014. The net result follows a deduction of -€5 million, which the company reportedly redistributed to personnel.
“Thanks to the commercial success, the repositioning in the market and ongoing cost control, our efforts to make (DAT)/(EBA) an attractive, dynamic and competitive airline has paid off in the past year," (CEO), Bernard Gustin said.
The full-year results were released March 17, several days ahead of the latest terror attacks in Brussels including Brussels Airport.
Full-year turnover increased to €1.27 billion, up +6.9% year-over-year (YOY). Higher turnover, together with significant cost reduction in 2015, resulted in an operating profit of +€43.1 million, a reversal from 2014’s full-year operating loss of -€9 million. Passengers increased +12.1% (YOY) in 2015 to 7.5 million. Traffic was up +10% (YOY) to 11.83 billion (RPK)s, as capacity increased +6.5% (YOY) to 15.91 billion (ASK)s; (DAT)/(EBA)’s full-year passenger load factor rose +2.4 points (YOY) to 74.4% LF. Cargo traffic fell -9.9% (YOY) to 170.7 million (FTK)s.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) is 45% owned by Lufthansa (DLH). A call option may be put forth in April to buy the remaining 55% of (DAT)/(EBA), Lufthansa (DLH) Chairman & (CEO) Carsten Spohr said, adding that a decision regarding a possible complete take-over will be made in (Q2). The call-option for (DLH) repeats every year in April.
The Star (SAL) Alliance member said European, African, and Transatlantic flights were profitable in 2015, as low fuel prices had a positive impact on results. Nevertheless, external cost elements such as the strong dollar and increased air traffic control (ATC) taxes diminished the benefits of lower fuel prices, the company said. In addition, the temporary security-related lockdown in Brussels in December 2015 and the unstable Russian market situation also had a negative impact.
(DAT)/(EBA) added 14 new destinations in 2015 and offered 668,000 additional seats. During the 2016 summer season, (DAT)/(EBA) will launch 9 new destinations. A 9th Airbus A330 for long-haul flights is scheduled to join the fleet this week and a 10th A330 is scheduled for the end of 2016, beginning service in 2017. (DAT)/(EBA)’s European narrow body fleet will grow with +2 additional aircraft as 4 Avros will be replaced by larger A320 family aircraft, increasing overall seat capacity +7%.
which killed 30 and 200+ injured.
News Item A-3: "Zaventem Airport Closure Costs Brussels Airlines $5.6 Million a Day" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann, March 29, 2016.
As Brussels Airport in Zaventem, Belgium, remains closed following the March 22 deadly terrorist attacks, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) said the airport closure is costing it €5 million/$5.6 million a day. This is putting (DAT)/(EBA) in its deepest crises since it was established in 2002. “Our 1st priority is to do everything for our passengers.”
(DAT)/(EBA) continues to operate several European flights through Liège and Antwerp airports, as well as long-haul flights between Europe and Africa, and North America through Frankfurt and Zurich airports.
Last week, it transferred 10 Airbus A319/320s to Liege and 5 Avro regional jets to Antwerp to transport passengers over the busy Easter Holiday weekend. “But of course we are looking for alternatives. As soon as Brussels Airport goes online again, we want to resume operations from there,” adding that airport authorities had built an impressive interim infrastructure within days after the attack.
Brussels Airport has determined there was no structural damage to the terminal building.
Before the new arrangements can be implemented, all the temporary structures will have to be inspected to make sure they meet construction and fire safety regulations. “To try out the passenger flows, the airport is organizing a major test on March 29, whereby 800 airport staff will test the temporary arrangements and infrastructure for the check-in procedure,” the airport said. “But this [800 passengers per hour] capacity is only 20% of the original capacity, or -80% less. The question is, how much capacity can be used from this 20% for Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA).”
A major part of the (DAT)/(EBA) fleet remains at Zaventem. “We expect that [as soon as] Brussels Airport reopens, we will bring back our long-haul flights, which also means feeder services.”
It is still unknown how long it will take the airport to function at 100% capacity again.
(DAT)/(EBA) reported a 2015 net profit of +€41.3 million/+$45.1 million, reversing a -€4.2 million net loss from 2014.
April 2016: News Item A-1: "Lufthansa Eyes Investments in (SAS), Brussels Airlines" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann, April 18, 2016.
The Lufthansa Group is in talks with (SAS) Scandinavian Airlines and Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) about those carriers becoming part of Lufthansa (DLH)’s low-cost carrier (LCC) Eurowings (EWG) business, several German media outlets reported.
(DLH) established Eurowings (EWG) in 2015 as a pan-European (LCC) platform, which it expects to grow quickly to become its second strongest brand, especially for point-to-point traffic. The Lufthansa Group has invited airlines to join (EWG) as part of a franchise.
“Of course, we are in talks with (SAS); we have been partners within the Star Alliance (SAL) since the alliance was founded. But [discussion] regarding a possible investment in (SAS) is just speculation,” (DLH) spokesperson, Helmut Tolksdorf said.
According to "Reuters," talks with (SAS) could lead to Lufthansa (DLH) taking a stake in (SAS). (SAS) has repeatedly been the subject of takeover speculation.
Star Alliance (SAL) member, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) is already 45%-owned by (DLH). (DLH) Chairman & (CEO) Carsten Spohr said recently that the Group has an option to purchase the remaining 55% of Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), adding that a decision regarding a possible complete takeover will be made during the 2nd quarter.
News Item A-2: Brussels Airport has reopened and begun its 1st flights since the March 22 terrorist attacks, but the airport is operating a very limited service with extra security measures.
On Sunday, April 3, 3 Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) aircraft departed for Faro in Portugal, Turin in northern Italy and Athens. (DAT)/(EBA) is continuing to operate out of the Belgian airports in Antwerp and Liege, while service ramps up out of its hub-base Brussels, where 11 people died and dozens were injured after 2 suicide bombs detonated in the main terminal. More people were killed and injured in bombings at the city’s train stations.
With Sunday’s reopening, arriving passengers used a temporary departure hall at the bus station level and all cars and occupants were screened on the access road into the airport. Passengers are not permitted trolleys in the temporary departure hall, are screened a second time on arrival, and only those people who are flying are allowed into this zone. After check-in, passengers go through the normal security screening to get to their gates.
Shopping and catering services are also limited, with no services in the temporary departure hall.
News Item A-3: A work action orchestrated by the guild of Belgian air traffic controllers brought flights to a halt at Brussels Airport less than 10 days after the airport restarted services following the March 22 deadly terrorist attacks.
The air traffic controllers staged an unannounced sickout on April 12 to protest Belgocontrol making changes to employees’ retirement benefits.
Brussels Airport, which reopened on April 3 after being closed by the terrorist bombing at the airport, initially said “no air traffic control [was] possible” on Tuesday afternoon as “Belgocontrol looks for operational solutions” to the controllers’ work action. Later, the airport said “a limited number of flights” would be possible during a two-hour window late in the afternoon.
“Due to social actions of the Belgian air traffic controllers at Belgocontrol flight disruptions are to be expected,” Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) said.
(IATA) Director General & (CEO) Tony Tyler condemned the air traffic controllers’ strike, calling the action “a kick in the teeth for all the airline and airport staff who have worked so hard to reconnect Brussels to the world, after the appalling terrorist attack just three weeks ago.”
He added, “It is the height of irresponsibility to cut a vital service and doing so without warning can only be seen as malicious. If we cannot count on simple human decency from such highly compensated professionals, then it’s time for governments to find ways to guarantee the availability of air traffic control services.”
News Item A-4: "Post Brussels Attacks, Some Need Lesson in Decency & Decorum" by Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog, April 13, 2016.
The March 22 terrorist attacks on Brussels Airport and the city’s metro system were sickening. It beggars belief, therefore, to record two events emanating from Brussels in the aftermath of those bombs.
First was the one-day, unannounced strike by Belgian air traffic controllers, which brought flights to a halt at Brussels Airport less than 10 days after the airport restarted services following the deadly attacks.
The air traffic controllers staged a sickout to protest Belgocontrol making changes to employees’ retirement benefits.
Most affected, of course, was the city’s home-based Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), which was the 1st carrier to begin limited services out of the airport after the attacks, and which has lost millions of dollars in revenue since the bombs. Staff at that airline have been doing their duties despite extremely difficult operational and emotional conditions.
As (DAT)/(EBA) (CEO) Bernard Gustin put it, “we have done our utmost to bring thousands of Brussels Airlines passengers to their destination. This was, is and will remain our 1st priority, in addition to the support given to our staff. I thank our customers for their understanding.”
Compare that attitude and selflessness with that of the controllers who stayed at home, while others work so hard to rebuild the airport and reconnect Brussels to the world.
In unusually blunt language, (IATA) Director General & (CEO) Tony Tyler condemned the strike. “It is the height of irresponsibility to cut a vital service and doing so without warning, can only be seen as malicious. If we cannot count on simple human decency from such highly compensated professionals, then it’s time for governments to find ways to guarantee the availability of air traffic control (ATC) services,” he said.
What got less attention, but is equally appalling, was a statement issued by the European Commission (EC)’s Mobility & Transport Directorate ((MOVE)) the day after the bomb attacks. You can read that statement here, but let me provide the gist.
Essentially, it was a reminder that passengers had the right to “timely information and assistance” from an airline if their flight was cancelled “even in extraordinary circumstances such as the event at Brussels airport.”
It then goes on to detail passenger rights, including “appropriate care, free of charge, such as meals, accommodation, and transfer to/from the hotel.”
This tone-deaf politicking was posted as those who work for the affected airlines, like their customers, were still numb with shock and grieving.
News Item A-5: Belgian transport minister, Jacqueline Galant has resigned amid a public outcry in Belgium over 2015 European Commission (EC) reports warning of security weaknesses at Brussels Airport and other airports in Belgium.
Brussels Airport was the site of a deadly terrorist attack on March 22. Galant claimed this week that she had been unaware of the (EC) reports, which were not intended for public consumption but were leaked to media outlets this week. Among other things, the reports called for more airport security resources in Belgium.
At a news conference following his acceptance of Galant’s resignation, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said that a summary of the (EC) reports had been sent to Galant’s office last year. “I cannot accept” that she told the Belgian parliament this week that she had been unaware of the reports, Michel said, according to multiple media reports.
May 2016: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) passenger traffic fell -19.1% in March following the terrorist attacks, which closed its home base for 12 days.
On March 22, a series of bombings at Brussels Airport and Maelbeek metro station took the lives of 32 people and caused substantial damage to the airport building, which was closed through April 3 following the blasts.
During the month, (DAT)/(EBA) carried 455,599 passengers, down -19.1% year-over-year. This is the 1st time in more than two-and-a-half years (DAT)/(EBA)’s passenger numbers have dropped. Its average load factor for the month also fell -0.5% points to 68.6% LF.
“Up until March 21, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) recorded a passenger increase of +9.6% and an increase of its seat load factor by +6.1% points, in line with the growth of the previous months. From March 22 onward the figures are heavily impacted by the attacks at Brussels Airport. Due to the events of March 22, the rest of the month, which promised to be very busy because of the Easter exodus, no traffic was possible to and from Brussels Airlines’ hub,” it said.
In light of the airport closure, the Belgium flag carrier relocated some of its European flights to Antwerp and Liege from March 24, with some intercontinental flights instead operating from Frankfurt and Zurich.
From March 22 - 31, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) flew 54,650 passengers from these alternative airports, down from 197,421 compared to March 2015. This is because, between March 24 and April 3, (DAT)/(EBA) operated just 38% of its normal schedule.
Cargo was also affected, dropping 21% to 2,609 tons.
“Our main focus now is getting our operations back to 100% and to offer our guests a comfortable and smooth travel experience again,” Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) (CCO), Lars Redeligx said.
(DAT)/(EBA) previously stated the airport closure cost it $5.6 million per day.
June 2016: "Brussels Airlines Adds A330 Premium Economy Class" by
(ATW) Victoria Moores, June 20, 2016.
The new cabin, which covers 32 seats on each A330, will be available on Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA)’s intercontinental flights to Africa, the USA and Canada.
Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) is introducing a 3rd long-haul class, branded as Economy Plus, on its Airbus A330s from July 1. Any passengers traveling in (DAT)/(EBA)'s economy (Y) class will be able to upgrade to Economy Plus for a €120/$135.27 one-way fee.
The Economy Plus seats are located in the first four rows of the economy (Y) cabin. They offer extra leg room and a 20-degree recline instead of the normal eight degrees. Passengers who buy the product will also receive complimentary champagne and chocolates, an amenity kit and a linen pillow.
“We see an increasing demand for a product between business (C) class and economy (Y) class,” Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) (CCO), Lars Redeligx said. “After implementing our new commercial strategy successfully for short-haul flights, we are now starting to implement a new product generation also on our long-haul flights. More innovations are already in the pipeline.”
August 2016: News Item A-1: Avro RJ100 (E3340, OO-DWH) ferried to storage and return to Falco Regional Aircraft after lease.
December 2016: News Item A-1: "Lufthansa Acquires Brussels Airlines, to Become Part of Eurowings (EWG)" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann, December 15, 2016.
The Lufthansa Group has taken over 100% of SN Airholding, the parent company of Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EAD), in a deal to fully integrate the Belgian carrier into Lufthansa (DLH)’s Eurowings (EWG) Group in 2018.
(DLH)’s supervisory board agreed to exercise a call option on the remaining 55% stake, effective December 31. The transaction will close by the beginning of January 2017. The price for the acquisition of the remaining 55% of the shares is €2.6 million/$2.8 million, which will be transferred to a consortium of 30 shareholders.
“We have seen a series of radical changes in the industry and, over the last several months, competition has increased to a high level. We see a lot more consolidation to come. The strong [airlines] are getting bigger and this is what (DLH) intends to do,” Lufthansa Group (CEO) Carsten Spohr said
(DLH) said Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EAD)’s attractive market, its established African network and its advantageous cost structure (which has allowed the airline to compete with the tough low-cost competition in the Belgian market) will further strengthen the Lufthansa (DLH) and Eurowings (EWG) market position.
“Africa is one of the reasons we have invested in (DAT)/(EBA), and only airlines that have a highly competitive cost structure have a place in the Lufthansa Group,” Spohr said. After the acquisition, Brussels Airlines will operate its 23 long-haul routes, as well as 79 destinations in Europe, under the umbrella of the Eurowings Group.
“With Brussels Airlines, the Eurowings Group will grow to 180 aircraft. Creating a more pan-European Eurowings is a big step in that direction. The Lufthansa Group is number one in Brussels. Aviation in Belgium needs a stronger partner,” Spohr said.
Lufthansa acquired a 45% share of SN Airholding 8 years ago. “In 2008 we had only 3 long-haul aircraft. Today we have 9, and soon we will fly to Mumbai. All this would not have been possible without (DLH),” SN Airholding board Chairman Viscount Etienne Davignon said. Between 2013 and 2015, passenger numbers have increased +30% to 7.5 million. The brand Brussels Airlines will, over time, be complemented by the claim “member of the Eurowings Group,” he said.
Brussels Airlines’ fleet harmonization toward an Airbus A320 family fleet for the European network will be continued. The fleet comprises 42 short- and medium-haul aircraft, including 2 in wet lease, and 9 A330s. “We are sure that a big joint decision will be the future long-haul fleet of Brussels Airlines,” Spohr said.
In the past 3 years, Brussels Airlines has reduced overall costs by -15%. For the fiscal year of 2015, Brussels Airlines generated an operating profit of +€43.4 million. With the full integration of Brussels Airlines, synergies will add up to a mid-double-digit million euro amount per year. “We understand the local brand. We believe there is a need to connect Europe to the world and not to be connected [from others]. Today 120,000 people work for Lufthansa, which will increase to 124,000 [with Brussels Airlines], and we are getting to 700 aircraft next year,” Spohr said.
“Over the past 8 years, our collaboration with (DLH) has proven its potential to create perspectives and safeguard jobs. Furthermore, the Lufthansa Group will enable us to expand our African reach by positioning Brussels as the Sub-Saharan Africa Hub of the Lufthansa Group,” Davignon said.
The Brussels Airlines management board remains unchanged under the leadership of (CEO) Bernard Gustin. In addition, an advisory council will be established and will support the integration process.
News Item A-2: "Lufthansa, Etihad Finalize Code Share, Wet Lease of 38 Airberlin Aircraft" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann firstname.lastname@example.org, December 16, 2016.
The Lufthansa Group and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Aviation Group have finalized a code share deal and wet-lease agreement for 38 airberlin (BER) Airbus A319/A320 aircraft operating for Eurowings (EWG) and Austrian Airlines (AUL). The code share deal, which is subject to government approval, is set to begin in January 2017.
The 6-year wet-lease agreement, effective February 2017, is also subject to regulatory requirements. Of the 38 former (BER) aircraft, Eurowings (EWG) will operate 33 and Austrian Airlines (AUL) will operate 5.
Lufthansa Group Chairman & (CEO) Carsten Spohr said, “We are looking forward to partnering with the Etihad Aviation Group. The wet-lease contract with airberlin (BER) fosters the growth of our Eurowings (EWG) Group. The code share agreement of Lufthansa (DLH) and Etihad (EHD) will offer our customers more benefits and complement both airlines’ networks. We will consider extending our cooperation in other areas.”
Eurowings also announced it will establish a new base at Munich Airport, where it will base 4 A320 family aircraft initially. Additional aircraft will be placed in Vienna and Palma de Mallorca.
As a result of the wet-lease agreement, Eurowings said it is able to phase out up to 20 older A320s, reducing overcapacity. Airberlin said it could reduce restructuring costs. On September 28, (BER) released details of its restructuring plan, which hinged on placing up to 40 A320s with the Lufthansa Group and reducing employee positions by up to 1,200.
Under the code share agreement, Lufthansa (DLH) will place its LH code on Etihad Airways (EHD)’s 2x-daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Frankfurt and 2x-daily Abu Dhabi - Munich services. (EHD) will, in turn, put its EY code on (DLH)’s flights between Frankfurt and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as well as Bogota, Colombia.
Etihad Aviation Group President & (CEO) James Hogan said, “We have long seen Germany as a key strategic market for the Etihad Aviation Group and this new relationship with (DLH) marks the next step in our commitment to the leading European Aviation Group.”
On December 5, oneworld (ONW) member airberlin (BER) announced the sale of 49.8% of its Austrian subsidiary FlyNiki (NKI) to Etihad (EHD) for €300 million/$320 million, to create a new European leisure airline in a joint venture (JV) with German travel company (TUI) Group (TUG).
On December 15, the Lufthansa Group took over 100% of SN Airholding, the parent company of Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), in a deal to fully integrate the Belgian carrier into Lufthansa (DLH)’s Eurowings (EWG) Group in 2018.
Airberlin (BER) reported a 3rd-quarter loss of -€45.6 million, reversed from a +€56.2 million profit in the year-ago period.
News Item A-3: "Lufthansa & Etihad: From Enemies to Partners" by Karen Walker Karen.email@example.com in (ATW) Editor's Blog, December 16, 2016.
Lufthansa (DLH) and Etihad (EHD), in the past, have fought over airberlin (BER) code share rights, specifically and more broadly over Gulf carrier growth and subsidy allegations. Today, the 2 became business partners, completing a code share and wet-lease agreement that links together Germany’s Lufthansa Group and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Aviation Group, ironically with airberlin (BER) aircraft at the center of the deal.
Etihad (EHD), which owns a 29% stake in airberlin (BER), has agreed to wet-lease 38 airberlin (BER) Airbus A320 family aircraft to the Lufthansa Group, which will use them to operate routes for 2 of its airline units, Eurowings (EWG) and Austrian Airlines (AUL). The agreement is particularly important for low cost carrier (LCC) (EWG), which (DLH) is looking to grow more rapidly.
Meanwhile, (DLH) will place its LH code on Etihad Airways (EHD)’s 2x-daily flights between the 2 airlines’ respective home hubs of Abu Dhabi and Frankfurt, and on 2x-daily Abu Dhabi - Munich services. (EHD) will put its EY code on (DLH)’s flights from Frankfurt to Rio de Janeiro and Bogota.
Both elements of the partnering arrangement are subject to regulatory approval, but if accomplished, it will be the latest example of a legacy flagship and a Gulf carrier becoming "dance partners." British Airways (BAB) parent the (IAG) was the icebreaker; (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh and Qatar Airways (QTA) Group (CEO) Akbar Al Baker forged a deal that made (QTA) a stakeholder in the (IAG) (a stake later increased to 20%). Walsh was also instrumental in getting (QTA) into the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance (joining Oneworld (ONW) Alliance Founder member (BAB) and also, oddly enough, airberlin (BER)). Qatar Airways (QTA) is now also taking a 10% stake in the (LATAM) Airlines Group (LAN)/(TPR).
Some accused Qantas (QAN) (CEO) Alan Joyce of doing a deal in 2013 with the devil when he signed a 10-year global partnership with Emirates (EAD), the largest of the “big 3” Gulf carriers. Although no investment stake was involved, the deal permitted extensive coordination and allowed (QAN), the Australian flagship to cut back its own European flights and connect to Emirates (EAD)’s broad European network, even shifting its European connecting hub from Singapore to Dubai. Lucifer has been lucrative; restructuring and partnerships have helped Qantas (QAN) climb from A$2.8 billion/$2.1 billion net loss in its fiscal year through June 2014 to a record profit of A$1 billion for the 2015/2016 fiscal year (the best result in its 95-year history).
Now we have Lufthansa (DLH) and Etihad (EHD) in a "dance," with the Group (CEO)s of each replacing subsidy barbs with hints of a greater future together. “We are looking forward to partnering with the Etihad Aviation Group,” Lufthansa Group Chairman & (CEO) Carsten Spohr said. “We will consider extending our cooperation in other areas.”
Etihad Aviation Group President & (CEO) James Hogan responded, “This new relationship with Lufthansa (DLH) marks the next step in our commitment to the leading European aviation group.” Perhaps it’s simply a case of 2 smart businessmen realizing they are better off working together than fighting in an industry environment that gets only more challenging. Hogan has often noted that (EHD)’s 2 biggest competitors are those in his backyard. Emirates (EAD) and Qatar Airways (QTA) have become stronger competitors through their partnerships with legacy and other carriers. The Lufthansa Group, though performing well, is still in cost restructuring catch-up mode relative to the (IAG); and both airberlin (BER) and Eurowings (EWG) are loss-making. The new partnership could yield returns across each group’s portfolios and make them more resilient to the competition and economic upheavals in their home markets as well as in the all-important transatlantic market. Most significantly, the Lufthansa (DLH) - Etihad (EHD) tie-up perhaps represents the end of any global attempt to constrain the Gulf carriers by regulatory means. From here on, should the USA majors choose to continue that fight, they’ve probably lost Lufthansa (DLH) as a public supporter. And Air France (AFA), still mired in its own restructuring, seems to believe it can tackle Gulf competition by starting a low-cost, long-haul carrier dedicated to that purpose.
Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer, the saying goes. Abu Dhabi-German relations have transformed, perhaps by necessity, from chilly to sunny-warm. Let’s see what can be achieved when you quit fighting and start working on how to better compete with your enemy’s enemy.
News Item A-4: Lufthansa Group low-cost (LCC) subsidiary, Eurowings (EWG) and German public services trade union Verdi have reached a labor agreement for cabin crews (CA)s on December 2. According to the agreement, flight attendants (CA) will see a +2.5% wage increase backdated from October 1, 2016; a further +2.5% increase October 1, 2017; and another +1.25% increase October 1, 2018.
Eurowings (EWG) cabin chiefs (Chefs de Cabine) will now be managed as pursers and will be compensated based on a separate purser (wages tariff) table, which will see increase of +5% as of October 1, 2016; +2.5% as of October 1, 2017; and +1.25% as of October 1, 2018.
The collective agreement expires March 31, 2019.
The Dusseldorf-based Eurowings (EWG) will also offer this deal to the (UFO) flight attendant (CA) union. “With this financial statement, we have gone to the limits of what is economically justified in a difficult market environment. The agreement is an important milestone on the way to the solution of the tariff conflicts in the (EWG) cabin,” Managing Director Jörg Beißel said.
On November 1, it was reported that (EwWG) flight attendants (CA), represented by the (UFO) union, had postponed a 2-day strike even though the latest negotiations failed to reach an agreement. Previously, (EWG) flight attendants (CA) went on a 24-hour strike October 27, resulting in 393 flight cancellations out of 551 scheduled flights for the day, affecting 40,000 passengers.
Lufthansa (DLH) established (EWG) as a pan-European (LCC) platform, which is expected to grow to 100 aircraft, as competition from (LCC)s (such UK’s easyJet (EZY), Ireland’s Ryanair (RYR) and Spain’s Vueling (VUZ)) increases to a 50% market share in Europe.
News Item A-5: "German Pilots' Union Says to Resume Talks with Lufthansa" by Maria Sheahan, "Reuters" December 09, 2016.
German pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit said it would resume wage talks with Lufthansa (DLH) and would hold off further strikes until the end of negotiations. It said on December 9th it would discuss options including mediation in these talks.
The union is currently reviewing (DLH)'s latest pay offer, which came after 6 days of strikes last month that cost the (DLH), the German flagship carrier EUR100 million/US$106 million in lost profit.
News Item A-6: "Lufthansa, Pilot Union Agree to Arbitration" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann firstname.lastname@example.org, December 16, 2016.
Lufthansa (DLH) and the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilot (FC) union have agreed to arbitration by the end of January 2017, in an effort to resolve a pay dispute that has resulted in repeated strikes. The
(VC) union has agreed to maintain industrial peace until then.
On December 13, it was reported that the latest round of (VC) pilot strikes will affect Lufthansa Group earnings by €100 million/$106 million in the 4th quarter. In November, (VC) called members to go on strike for 6 days, forcing Lufthansa (DLH) to cancel 4,500 flights, affecting more than half a million passengers.
According to a December 16 statement from Lufthansa (DLH), the parties have not publicly identified the mediator. “We have had some intense talks over the past months and have now succeeded in agreeing on arbitration for the collective wage agreement. The negotiating table is the only place where we can find solutions that offer prospects for employees and for the company,” (DLH) Head of Human Resources & Legal Affairs Bettina Volkens said.
“I am confident that we will be able to develop a fair solution with the assistance of a mediator. We want to arrive at a long-term industrial peace in cooperation with (VC) (for our customers, our employees and our shareholders),” Volkens said.
News Item A-7: The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) has approved a proposed joint venture (JV) between Lufthansa (DLH) and Singapore Airlines (SIA), subject to certain voluntary conditions.
On February 5, (DLH) and (SIA) sought permission to cooperate on routes between the Asia-Pacific region (Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) and Europe (Austria, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland).
The (CCS) said the 2 airlines were looking for clearance to work together on pricing, inventory management, sales and marketing. They also asked to coordinate schedules, capacity and revenues on services from Singapore to Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Munich and Zurich. However, (DLH) and (SIA) hold 80% of the Singapore - Frankfurt and Singapore - Zurich market, so the (CCS) said price and capacity coordination on these routes “would raise competition concerns.” The (CCS) was particularly worried about capacity reductions and fare increases, should the (JV) be approved.
The 2 airlines offered to maintain and increase capacity on both routes and carry a minimum number of Singapore passengers. An independent auditor will also be appointed to monitor compliance with the conditions. “The (CCS) is of the view that the competition concerns identified by the (CCS) on these 2 routes will be addressed with these commitments, and the proposed (JV) will result in net economic benefits to Singapore,” the regulator said, approving the (JV).
January 2017: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) will expand the use of hired-in regional aircraft as it phases out a fleet of Avro RJ100s.
(DAT)/(EBA), the Belgian flag carrier will use 3 Sukhoi SSJ100 Superjets from Ireland-based CityJet beginning in April, when the aircraft start a 2-year contract. (DAT)/(EBA)’s management made a strategic decision 2 years ago to phase out regional aircraft, deciding instead to focus on Airbus A320-family single-aisle aircraft for medium-haul and A330s for long-haul routes.
As part of this program, (DAT)/(EBA) disposed of 4 Avro RJ100 regional jets last year, with the remaining eight scheduled to leave the fleet by November 2017.
Some of the Avro’s duties will be taken on by A319s and A320s, said VP Media Relations Geert Sciot, but some routes required smaller aircraft. “We went onto the market a few months ago for a 100-seater replacement for the RJ100s. Several regional operators showed interest but, at the end of the day, [Irish regional] CityJet won.”
The Dublin-based airline won the contract on the basis of several criteria, including their previous experience of operating aircraft in the 100-seat category, he said. “It wasn’t a price-driven decision.” The Irish company will fly the services with their own crews, but to Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA)’s cabin service (CA) standards. The routes to be flown have yet to be decided.
CityJet is the sole Western European operator of the Russian regional jet. It has 15 on order and plans initially to use them on services for other operators. Like Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), CityJet is phasing out a fleet of Avro RJs.
(DAT)/(EBA) already uses aircraft from 2 UK airlines to help fulfill regional services. Flybe (BEE) provides Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s, while bmi Regional operates Embraer ERJ-145s, both on wet-lease (ACMI) basis. (DAT)/(EBA) and bmi Regional also have a code share arrangement.
February 2017: "Wet-leased Airberlin A320s Begin Service for Eurowings" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann Kurt Hofmann email@example.com, February 10, 2017.
3 airberlin (BER) Airbus A320s operating in Eurowings (EWG) colors launched February 10 from Hamburg to Manchester, Stuttgart and Nuremberg. The flights are part of a 6-year wet-lease agreement between (BER) and the Lufthansa Group, which was approved unconditionally at the end of January by federal antitrust authorities.
Under the wet-lease agreement, (BER) will lease 38 Airbus A319/A320 aircraft (which are stationed at German and Austrian airports) to Lufthansa (DLH) and its subsidiaries Eurowings (EWG) and Austrian Airlines (AUL). (EWG) will take 33 of the aircraft and Austrian (AUL) will take the remaining 5. The deal also includes a code share between (DLH) and (BER) equity parent Etihad Airways (EHD).
Airberlin (BER) (CEO) Thomas Winkelmann said, “The wet-lease agreement with the Lufthansa Group is a significant milestone for (BER) by providing job security with ultimately 38 aircraft flying for the Lufthansa Group.”
The (BER) wet-leased A320s will be delivered to the Lufthansa Group in phases by the end of April and all aircraft will carry the wording “operated by airberlin” on their fuselages. “According to the agreement with (BER), Eurowings (EWG) is the fastest-growing carrier compared to any other airline brand in Europe,” (CEO) of (EWG) and Aviation Services Karl Ulrich Garnadt said. The wet-leased aircraft will be operated in (EWG) colors and its cabin design.
Up to 20 (BER) A320s will replace the oldest (EWG) aircraft of the same type. The increased aircraft capacity allows (EWG) to offer 23,000 additional flights per year and >60 new connections. (BER) also estimates it will carry 3 million additional passengers annually.
4 of the 33 wet-leased aircraft will be based in Munich beginning from this summer. “>50% of the 60 additional new connections will be offered from (DLH)’s 2nd hub Munich,” Garnadt said.
2 former (BER) A320s will be based in Palma de Mallorca (Spain), increasing the number of aircraft to 4 (in Palma) starting from this summer, while the remaining aircraft will strengthen (EWG)’s existing bases in Cologne Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, and Vienna.
Star (SAL) Alliance member Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), which operates 51 aircraft, should be integrated into the Eurowings Group from 2018. Including Brussels, the total (EWG) fleet is expected to reach 160 aircraft.
March 2017: A319-111 (2287, OO-SSO), ex-(OE-IEP), (GECAS) (GEF) leased and 3 RRJ-95B (95105, EI-FWD; 95108, EI-FWB; 95111, EI-FWC), ex-(I-PDVX; I-PDVY; I-PDVW) deliveries.
April 2017: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) has unveiled the latest aircraft in its "Belgium Icons" series with an image inspired by Belgium's annual "Tomorrowland" music festival. Airbus A320-214 (2810, OO-SNF) features a colorful bird on the fuselage along with the words "Brussels Airlines - we fly you to the home of Tomorrowland." - see photo.
June 2017: A320-214 (1983, OO-SNI), ex-(EI-EZW), (GECAS) (GEF) leased, SSJ100 (95118, EI-FWF), ex-(I-PDVX) leased from CityJet in full colors, B Ae Avro RJ100 (E3315, OO-DWB) ferried to Norwich, England for storage and lease return, and B Ae Avro RJ100 (E3361, OO-DWL) returned to Falco Regional Aircraft Leasing and re-registered to Triangle Regional Aircraft Leasing.
October 2017: Lufthansa Group low cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary Eurowings (EWG) (CEO) Thorsten Dirks has said Star (STM) Alliance member Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) could operate long-haul flights for (EWG) from Düsseldorf, Germany.
“This could include flights to the USA. However, we will not change (DAT)/(EBA)’s business portfolio. For example, they are an expert on routes to Africa, but we want to use their competence and air operator’s certificate,” Dirks said in Vienna.
In December 2016, the Lufthansa Group took over 100% of SN Airholding, the parent company of Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), in a deal to fully integrate the Belgian carrier into Lufthansa (DLH)’s Eurowings (EWG) Group in 2018.
Dirks said the (EWG) long-haul fleet comprises 6 Airbus A330-200s. A 7th A330 will arrive in December, which was actually planned as a spare aircraft, but will now be used for scheduled services immediately. All these aircraft are part of a wet-lease contract with SunExpress (SNS), a joint venture of (DLH) and Turkish Airlines (THY).
(EWG) expects to take over 2 former (DLH) A340-300s to speed up its long-haul network expansion.
(EWG) is also leasing a Boeing 767-300ER from Swiss company PrivatAir (PTS) to cover the increased demand after airberlin (BER) canceled all its long-haul routes following insolvency in August.
February 2018: "Lufthansa Replaces Brussels Airlines’ Top Management" by Jens Flottau, (ATW) Plus, February 5, 2018.
The Lufthansa (DLH) Group replaced top management at Brussels Airlines (DBA)/(EBA) on February 5, as the group revamps the airline after taking it over in late 2016. Brussels Airlines (DBA)/(EBA) announced Christina Foerster would succeed (CEO) Bernard Gustin as of April 1 and (CFO) Jan De Raeymaeker will leave by March 31. Thibault Demoulin will become Chief Operating Officer (COO).
April 2018: News Item A-1: Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) will market the cargo capacities of Lufthansa Group subsidiary Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) from September 1, joining Lufthansa (DLH) (mainline), Austrian Airlines (AUL), Eurowings (EWG) and Sun Express (SNS).
(LUB) said (DAT)/(EBA) (which flies to 17 destinations in west, central and east Africa) fits ideally into its existing network. Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) (CEO) Christina Foerster said Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) has “a lot of experience in marketing the cargo capacities of passenger airlines.
News Item A-2: Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) named Dieter Vranckx as (CFO) & Deputy (CEO), effective May 1.
May 2018: "Brussels Airlines Pilots Call for 2 Strike Days" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 11, 2018.
Lufthansa (DLH) subsidiary Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA)’s pilot (FC) union has called for strike action on May 14 and May 16, which is expected to create significant disruption to flight operations.
“These actions will affect >60,000 passengers,” a spokesperson in Brussels said. On May 14, 278 flights were scheduled with 34,000 passengers; on May 16, 279 flights were booked with 29,000 passengers.
(DAT)/(EBA) (COO) Thibault Demoulin called the strike “incomprehensible, since the company has submitted substantial offers to the cockpit union delegation.”
(DAT)/(EBA) said pilots (FC) refused the 1st proposal of a flexible benefit plan, which called for a +3% monthly gross salary increase as of January 1, 2019 with an additional +3% in 2020 should there be no growth.
“The union delegation continues to propose the same 12 points, which represent a total increase in cost of 25% for the company. It would be irresponsible for the future of our company and its 3,900 employees to accept this,” (DAT)/(EBA) (CEO) Christina Foerster said.
The union also said one reason for the strike is insecure working conditions. Pilots (FC) are demanding clarity from Lufthansa about the airline’s future plans. “We called on management earlier this week to come up with a concrete proposal, but that did not happen during the meeting,” (LBC) - (NVK) union representative Paul Buekenhout said.
Lufthansa (DLH) took full control of Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) through its parent (SN) Airholding in late 2016 and replaced top management February 5, as the group revamps the airline to be more closely integrated with Lufthansa Group’s Eurowings (EWG) low-fare division.
“We are also worried about the process as our social partners announced a strike even before the new conciliation process [May 14] has started,” Foerster said, adding, that it goes without saying that (DAT)/(EBA) remains open for transparent and constructive dialogue “as we continue aiming at a solution that on the 1 hand responds to the concerns of our pilots (FC) and on the other hand, doesn’t put the future of our company at stake.”
June 2018: "Brussels Airlines Cancels Sharm-el-Sheikh Services" by
(ATW) Alan Dron (email@example.com), June 15, 2018.
Belgian flag carrier Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) has scrapped a series of planned charter services to the Egyptian holiday resort Sharm-el-Sheikh.
(DAT)/(EBA) had been planning a schedule of 10 flights with an Airbus A320 from June 29 to the end of August on behalf of tour operator the Thomas Cook Group.
Sharm-el-Shaikh lies near the southern tip of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula; there has been a series of terrorist attacks by Islamists against Egyptian government forces in the peninsula in recent years.
Most western airlines ceased flights to Sharm-el-Sheikh following the October 2015 crash of a Russian Metrojet Airbus A321 shortly after takeoff from the Egyptian airport because of what is widely believed to have been an onboard bomb planted at the airport.
Following a major overhaul of security at the airport, many airlines have restarted services to Sharm-el-Sheikh, although the UK government still bans UK flights from operating there.
A Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) spokeswoman said that an internal safety assessment conducted on plans to fly into Sharm-el-Sheikh had advised against flying there, so the flights had been dropped. She noted that the Lufthansa (DLH) Group, of which Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) is now part, has a policy of not flying to Sharm-el-Sheikh, so the Belgian company was aligning itself with that stance.
The internal advice, she added, had looked not just at the high-security hotel district in Sharm-el-Sheikh, but at the area that aircraft had to fly over to get to the airport.
The internal advice had not been informed by any information from the Belgian government’s foreign ministry or by any evidence of a new threat, she said: “In no way are we saying that we have information that something could be happening in Egypt.
“Egypt remains an important country for us and we still fly to Hurghada and Marsa Alam.” These 2 destinations are holiday resorts on Egypt’s Red Sea coast.
July 2018: News Item A-1: "Cathay Pacific to Code Share on 7 Brussels Airlines Flights" by (ATW) Adrian Schofield (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 13, 2018.
Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT has enhanced its European network by signing a code share agreement with Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), adding to its partnerships with Lufthansa Group carriers.
Under the new deal, (CAT) will be able to code share on 7 Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) flights beyond its Brussels hub. The destinations covered are Berlin and Hamburg in Germany; Lyon, Marseilles and Toulouse in France; Oslo; and Prague.
(CAT)’s passengers will connect to these flights from (CAT)’s 4x-weekly flights from Hong Kong to Brussels, which began March 25 and are operated with Airbus A350-900s. The deal does not include (DAT)/(EBA) code sharing on Cathay flights, however.
Of the 7 code share destinations, only 1 (Toulouse) is new to the (CAT) network. The others are already offered via existing code shares. 2 of the 7 (Lyon and Marseilles) are served via code shares with train operator (SNCF), connecting in Paris.
(CAT) signed a cooperation agreement with other Lufthansa Group carriers in March 2017, including Lufthansa (DLH), SWISS (CSR) and Austrian Airlines (AUL). Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) was not included at that time.
September 2018: "Brussels Airlines to Expand Africa Service; end Mumbai Flights in 2019" by Helen Massy-Beresford (email@example.com), September 18, 2018.
Lufthansa Group subsidiary Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) is making changes to its long-haul network, reinforcing its presence in Africa as it ends flights to Mumbai, India for economic reasons and refocuses the capacity on its core intercontinental region of Africa.
As of next year, (DAT)/(EBA) will add 3 extra flights per week to Banjul, Gambia, taking it to a daily service and will operate 3x- out of 7x-weekly frequencies to Dakar, Senegal as a direct flight from January 7.
(DAT)/(EBA), the Belgium flag carrier will stop flying to and from Mumbai, India, from January 6, with customers still able to connect to the destination via Frankfurt and Munich, Germany and Zurich, Switzerland with partners Lufthansa (DLH) and Swiss International Air Lines (CSR), it said. (DAT)/(EBA) began serving Mumbai in March 2017 but said “the route does not deliver the anticipated results.” Customers who had already booked flights after January 6 are being offered alternative travel solutions.
(DAT)/(EBA), which announced a short- and medium-haul network expansion over the summer, also said it was adding 2 further year-round short-haul destinations (4x-weekly to Kiev (Ukraine) service from October and a 3x-weekly service to Wroclaw (Poland) from February.
(DAT)/(EBA) is also adding additional frequencies to existing destinations during the winter season from October 29, including Alicante and Malaga, Spain; Billund, Denmark; Bordeaux, France; Faro and Lisbon, Portugal; Geneva, Switzerland; and Tel Aviv, Israel.
(DAT)/(EBA) is also gradually renewing the cabins of its 10 Airbus A330s, launching a new business (C) class, a renewed economy (Y) class and (for the 1st time) premium economy (PY) in a separate cabin with the 1st refurbished aircraft set to be ready in December.
Click below for photos:
EBA-737-3M8 - VIRGINEXPRESS
EBA-A319 - 2011-11
EBA-A320 - 2013-10
EBA-A320 Magritte Livery - 2016-03.jpg
EBA-A320-214 1838 OO-SND Aerosmurfs 2018-05.jpg
EBA-A320-214 OO-SNO 2018-04.jpg
EBA-A330-200 - 2014-09
EBA-A330-301 - 2013-08
0 737-200 (JT8D-15), EX-(EJT), RETURNED.
1 737-3M8 (CFM56-3B2) (25041 TO (VEI), 2037-25070, /91 OO-LTM), LEASED TO (VOZ) 2000-05. 25041 RETURNED 2003-01. TO (ISF), WET-LEASED TO (CEX). WINGLETS. 24C, 138Y.
0 737-3YO (CFM56-3) (1538-23922, /88 OO-VEE, (LIM) LSD; 1542-23924, /88 OO-LTV, (BBB) LSD; 1544-23925, /88 OO-LTY, (BBB) LEASED, (1542-23924 & 1544-23925 LEASED TO (SBE) 1998-06). (23924; 23925; RETURNED (BBB), LEASED TO (BAB) 2001-02). 142Y.
3 737-36N (CFM56-3C1) (3022-28571, /86 OO-VEH), (GEF) LEASED (2987-28568, /98 OO-VEG; 3022-28571, /98 OO-VEH; TO (VEI) (2948-28670, /97 OO-VEX, RETURNED 2000-11) (28333 TO (VEI) 1999-05), 28568, OO-VEG; 28571, OO-VEH; RETURNED 2001-01. 28333 TO (TEB) 2001-03. ALL OPERATIONS BY "BRUSSELS AIRLINES FLY." WINGLETS. 24C, 118Y.
1 737-36N (CFM56-3C1) (3090-28586, /98 OO-VEN), (GEF) LEASED 2001-04. 24C, 138Y.
0 737-33A (CFM56-3C1) (2008-25010, /91 OO-LTW; 2014-25032, /91 OO-LTP; 2709-27455, /95 OO-LTU), (AWW) LEASED. 27455 RETURNED, LEASED TO (BMI) 2005-05. BOTH OPERATIONS BY "BRUSSELS AIRLINES FLY." ALL RETURNED. 142Y.
1 737-4Q8 (CFM56-3C1) (3009-28202, /98 OO-VET), (ILF) 5 YEAR LEASED. 24C, 138Y.
0 737-4YO (CFM56-3C1) (1667-23980, /89 OO-VJO; 1680-24314, /89 OO-VBR; 1876-24688, EI-TVC TO (VEI)), (BBB) LEASED, 23980 LEASED TO (VOZ) 2000-12. 24688 RETURNED (GEF), LEASED TO 2 YEARS (AXO) 2001-03. 24688 LEASED TO (VEI) 2001-12. 23980 RETURNED (TCI) 2003-05. 24314; RETURNED. 164Y.
1 737-405 (CFM56-3C1) (1726-24270, /89 OO-VEK - SEE PHOTO; 1738-24271, /89 OO-VEJ), EX-(BRT), (AFJ) 5 YEAR LEASED 1999-04. (24271 LEASED TO (SBL) 1999-11). 24270 RETURNED 2001-10. ALL OPERATIONS BY "BRUSSELS AIRLINES FLY." 24C, 138Y.
1 737-43Q (CFM56-3C1) (2827-28489, /96 OO-VEP), EX-(CHI), (GEH) LEASED. 28489 LEASED TO (VOZ) 2000-05. 30C, 138Y.
0 737-43Q (CFM56-3C1) (2838-28493, /96 OO-VES), (BOU) LEASED 1998-12, TO (VEI), RETURNED FROM (VOZ) 2003-02. CONVERTED TO FREIGHTER AND LEASED BY AVIATION CAPITAL GROUP (CGP) TO ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES (ETH) 2013-08. 30C, 138Y.
0 737-430 (CFM56-3C1) (2311-27000, /92 OO-VEF), EX-(DLH), OASIS LEASED, RETURNED 2004-05. 164Y.
0 737-46M (CFM56-3C1) (2844-28549, /97 OO-VEC, 2847-28550, /97 OO-VED, (TOM) LEASED), 28549 LEASED TO (VOZ) 2000-11. 28550 RETURNED 2001-05, LEASED TO (ANK). 28549 RETURNED FROM (VOZ) 2002-02, RETURNED 2002-04. 164Y.
0 ORDERS 737-700 (CFM56-7B), 8 (GEH) 8 YEAR LEASED, 3 (ILF) 8 YEAR LEASED, 148 PAX, 11 ORDERS CANCELED 2000-11.
0 767-300ER, (MAE) 3 MONTH LEASED 2006-04. RETURNED.
0 DC-10-30 (CF6-50E2), (LAK) LEASED 1998-10. RETURNED.
0 A300B4-203 (158, EI-TLL), (TSD) LEASED, RETURNED.
1 A319-111 (2287, OO-SSO), EX-(OE-IEP), (GECAS) (GEF) LEASED 2017-03.
1 A319-112 (CFM56-5B6/2P) (1086, /99 OO-SSC), (CSL) LEASED 2010-04. IN STAR ALLIANCE (SAL) COLORS. 132Y.
1 A319-112 (CFM56-5B) (1102, OO-SSD), VOLITO LEASED 2010-08. EX-(EI-DEY). 24C, 117Y.
3 A319-112 (CFM56-5B) (1160, /00 OO-SSG SEE PHOTO, (PEB) LEASED; 1336, /00 OO-SSK; & 1388, /00 OO-SSM; B AE LEASED 2002-11), EX-(SAB), 24C, 117Y.
1 A319-112 (CFM56-5B) (4275, OO-SSR), EX-(N275MX) (ILF) LEASED 2011-01. 24C, 117Y.
1 A319-113 (CFM56-5A4) (644, /97 OO-SSP), (CGP) LEASED 2008-03. 24C, 118Y.
0 A320-200 (V2500) (543), (COT) WET-LEASED 6 MONTHS, RETURNED.
2 A320-200 (GEF) LEASED 2012-05.
0 A320-214 (978), (GEH) LEASED. RETURNED.
1 A320-214 (CFM56-5B4/P) (1441, /01 OO-SNA; 1493, OO-SNB), EX-(BER)/(LTU), (DEA) LEASED. 1493; RETURNED. 24C, 114Y.
1 A320-214 (CFM56-5B4/P) (1797, OO-SNC; 1838, OO-SND - - SEE PHOTO - - "DAT-2013-12 - BELGIAN DEVILS"), 24C, 114Y.
1 A320-214 (CFM56-5B4/P) (1885, OO-SNG - - SEE PHOTO - - "EBA-A320-214-2014-02"), 24C, 114Y.
1 A320-214 (CFM56-5B4/P) (1983, OO-SNI), EX-(EI-EZW), (GECAS) (GEF) LEASED 2017-06. 24C, 114Y.
1 A320-214 (CFM56-5B4/P) (2810, OO-SNF - "TOMORROWLAND" BIRD ON FUSELAGE 2017-04), (TCI) LEASED 2012-08, EX-(EI-DET). 24C, 114Y.
1 A320-214 (CFM56-6B4/P) (OO-SNO - - SEE PHOTO - "DAT-A320-214 OO-SNO 2018-04). 24C, 114Y.
0 A320-231 (V2527-A5) (430), (TSD) WET-LEASED, RETURNED.
2 A330-223 (PW4168A) (229, /98 OO-SFY; 249, OO-SFZ, 2012-02), (CSR) LSD 2011-10.
1 +1 ORDER (2016-12) A330-300 (CF6-80E1A2), 30C, 248Y.
3 A330-301 (CF6-80E1A2) (030 /93 OO-SFM; 037, /93 OO-SFN - - SEE PHOTO - "EBA-A330-301 - 2013-08;" 045, /93 OO-SFO), (DEA) LEASED 2002-04. 30C, 248Y.
1 A330-322 (PW4168) (082, /94 EC-JTB), 2007-02. 30C, 248Y.
1 A330-322 (PW4168) (095, OO-SSV, 2010-06; 096, OO-SFX), (ILF) LEASED. 30C, 248Y.
0 AVRO RJ85 (LF507-1F) (E2271, /95 OO-DJK; E2305, /97 OO-DJZ), E2196 WET-LST (TSW) 2003-05. ALL RETIRED BY 2014-09. 20C, 62Y.
0 AVRO RJ100 (LF507-1F) (E3308, /97 OO-DWA; E3361, /99 OO-DWL), E3340 TO STORAGE & RETURN TO FALCO REGIONAL AIRCRAFT AFTER LEASE 2016-08. 4 RETIRED IN 2016. REMAINING 8 TO LEAVE BY 2017-11. 20C, 77Y.
2 BOMBARDIER DASH 8-Q401 (PW150A) (4026, /00 OE-LGC "SALZBURG;" 4056, /10 D-ADHD), 70Y.
2 BOMBARDIER DASH 8-Q400, (BEE) WET-LEASED 2012-03 IN "BRUSSELS AIRLINES" TITLES. 70Y.
3 SUKHOI SSJ100 (95105, EI-FWD; 95108, EI-FWB; 95111, EI-FWC; 95118, EI-FWF), EX-(I-PDVX; I-PDVY; I-PDVW), CITYJET 2 YEAR WET-LEASED 2017-03 AND 2017-06.
ETIENNE DAVIGNON, CHAIRMAN.
MS CHRISTINA FOERSTER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO) (2018-04).
BERNARD GUSTIN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO) (PREVIOUS) (2012-06).
DIETER VRANCKX, DEPUTY (CEO) & (CFO) (2018-05).
THIBAULT DEMOULIN, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER (COO).
Thibault was previously VP Operations from (2013-09), and was responsible for Flight Operations and headed the pilots (FC), cabin crew (CA), and Operations Center of the company, which together were around 1,700 employees.
JAN DE RAEYMAEKER, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER (CFO) (2012-03) LEFT (2018-03).
ULF WEBER, EXECUTIVE VP OPERATIONAL SERVICES.
MS URSULA SILLING, EXECUTIVE VP COMMERCIAL.
LARS REDELIGX, CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER (CCO).
RUDI NERINCK, EXECUTIVE VP HUMAN RESOURCES (HR).
DIRK VREBOS, VP OPERATIONS (2013-09), deputy accountable, responsible for Ground Operations, Security and Maintenance. This structure consists of around 1100 employees.
CHRIS VANDERVINNE, VP CORPORATE FINANCE.
LUC CASIER, VP IN-FLIGHT SUN-AIR.
STEVE TARBUCK, VP GROUND OPERATIONS & AIRPORT (2014-12).
Together with his teams, Steve will manage and further develop (EBA)/(DAT)’s Ground Operations & Airport Services, in line with the Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA)’s strategy to emphasize customer experience and service.
WILLY BUYSSE, GENERAL MANAGER.
GEERT SCIOT, VP EXTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS (firstname.lastname@example.org).
WENCKE LEMMES-PIREAUX, VP COMMERCIAL & CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS (2010-10).
XAVIER LAGARDERE, VP ONLINE RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION.
JOS NIJS, CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER (CIO).
DIRK WERQUIN, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR.
ANNICK LECLERCQ, DIRECTOR PERSONNEL.
JOHAN MAERTENS, AFRICAN PROJECTS MANAGER & (CEO) airDC (2007-11).
PETER BULCKAERT, STRATEGIC PROJECTS MANAGER
(T: (32-2) 754-1702) (FAX: (32-2) 754-1999).
MS LINDA STICHELBAUT, INFORMATION & PROCESS MANAGER.