In 2016, Brussels Airlines welcomed 7.7 million passengers on board of its worldwide flights. That is an increase of 3.2% compared to 2015, a remarkable result given the challenges the airline faced last year.
Brussels Airlines closed the year 2016 with 7,736,791 passengers, which is almost a quarter of a million or 3% more than 2015. The airline registered growth on both the European and the African and North American network. Out of the 7.7 million passengers, 6.5 million flew on a European flight, 883,995 travelers flew to and from Africa and 290,836 passengers traveled to or from North America. The seat load factor decreased slightly and amounted to 74.9%. The seat offer, expressed in available seat-kilometers increased by 6.8% and the revenue passenger kilometers grew by 7.4%
2016 was also a year of growth for Brussels Airlines’ cargo activity. The total volume of transported freight grew by 12% to 29.856 tons, which is in line with the increased cargo capacity.
The passenger growth was accomplished in very difficult market circumstances. The results of 2016 are very positive if you consider the terror attacks that struck Belgium in March and which led to a significant decrease of the number of foreign passengers travelling to Belgium. For the point-to-point traffic to Brussels, 2016 was a tough year. This was partly compensated by an increase of the number of transfer passengers but it is clear that Belgium needs to be further promoted abroad as a touristic and economic destination.
In addition to its scheduled flight activity, Brussels Airlines operates many holiday and group flights for tour operators. Passenger figures for this activity are not included in the figures of this press release.
Highlights of the year 2016 include the launch of Brussels Airlines’ very first service to Canada (Toronto), the expansion of the European network with many new destinations, the launch of the new Economy Privilege product on long haul flights, the opening of new airport lounges “The Suite” in Brussels and Kinshasa and the fleet harmonization project to replace regional aircraft by larger Airbus aircraft.
In december 2016 the number of passengers increased by 15.2%, while the seat load factor grew by 1,7 percentage points. The freight volumes evolved positively as well. When comparing to 2015, one should take into account that the passenger traffic was in decline that month because of the Brussels lockdown.
Figures based on preliminary figures currently available