Brussels Airlines to use only 23% of pre-Covid capacity in September instead of 40% because of restrictions

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Dieter Vranckx, CEO Brussels Airlines © André Orban

In interviews on Saturday to L’Echo and La Libre Belgique, Brussels Airlines CEO Dieter Vranckx said he hoped to reach 40% of the airline’s capacity by the end of September, but for the moment he has to limit the aircraft use at 23%. After a  relatively good summer, this month is indeed catastrophic for attendance due to the proliferation of red areas and quarantine measures.

In July, while flying at 30% of capacity, the planes were 60% full, but August was more complicated because of the colour changes, the negative effects of which are even more felt in September.

In mid-July, Brussels Airlines planned to increase the capacity in October and November by respectively 35 to 40% and then from 40 to 45%. But now the airline is compelled to reduce the capacity again because it can no longer fill planes.

The current system does not encourage people to travel. Quarantine for travellers returning from certain countries on their return to Belgium is too drastic a measure, says Vranckx, but this blocks people at home and destroys any desire to travel, whether for business or leisure. He suggests more testing, like in Germany, without quarantine for people testing negative.

Dieter Vranckx mentioned that flights are operated to 12 African destinations on an irregular basis with a profitable 60% load factor. But he does not expect North American flights to resume before 2021.

The restructuring that was planned before the coronavirus crisis to be completed in three years will now have to be carried out in three months, including the reduction in the size of the company and the departure of 700 full-time equivalents, of which 60 will be made by redundancies.

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