Last year, Brussels Airlines incurred a net loss of €35.4 million on a turnover of €1,621.6 million (+1.8%), thus increasing the cumulative loss to €128.1 million. In 2018, the airline registered a net profit of €12.8 million on a turnover of €1,592.8 million.
In total, the Lufthansa subsidiary carried 10.19 million passengers in 2019, an increase of 1.7% compared to 2018. Unfortunately, the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook Belgium hit the company hard and especially the results of the leisure destinations and the number of guests transported in the last quarter of the year.
The staff increased from 3,512 to 3,597 persons: 673 pilots (+7.0%), 1,569 cabin crew (+3.4%) and 1,355 ground staff (-0.8%).
The fleet renewal was continued during the year: there was a successful introduction of 1 Airbus A320, 5 Airbus A330s and a phase-out of 5 Airbus A330s and 2 Airbus A340s. The number of aircraft remained stable at 54 (-1), all leased: 22 A319s, 17 A320s and 15 A330s. Four A330s were leased to Eurowings under an ACMI contract.
In June 2019, it was decided that Brussels Airlines would no longer integrate into the Eurowings group, the point-to-point segment of the Lufthansa group. Brussels Airlines will become part of the Lufthansa Group Network Airlines segment from January 2020 and all integration projects related to Eurowings will be discontinued.
The company has conceived a plan called ‘Reboot’ to transform itself towards structural profitability with the aim of financing its own fleet renewal and network expansion in the future.
Significant events after the end of the financial year
The global aviation industry has been heavily impacted by the effects of the Covid-19 virus that have led to the closing of borders and travel restrictions. For the company, in particular, the crisis resulted in the need to stop all flights between March 21 and June 14, 2020 with a slow restart with limited capacity after that date. As a consequence, the Board of Directors decided to adjust the existing restructuring plan (now: Reboot Plus) on a number of important points:
- downsizing of the existing fleet by 30% from 54 to 38 aircraft
- transition to a Coilective Dismissal Proceedings with the aim of restructuring the company and reducing the number of employees by 25%
- review of suppliers and partners contracts
- financial support from the shareholder and the Belgian government
The above annual results of Brussels Airlines were published (in Dutch only) by the National Bank of Belgium on 15 October, with some delay due to the pandemic.