During the virtual press conference convened to discuss the 2020 financial results of Brussels Airlines, management disclosed a few details that were not covered in the press release.
An important decision was taken with regard to the wet-lease agreement between Brussels Airlines and Eurowings Discover (the new name of the Ocean project for the long-haul leisure network of the Lufthansa group). Initially, Brussels Airlines should have provided Eurowings A330 aircraft on a wet-lease basis until the end of the summer 2021 season. This contract will now stop at the end of May 2021.
Brussels Airlines employs 256 people at its Düsseldorf base on behalf of Eurowings. Discussions are ongoing with the unions to find a fair solution for them. The Belgian cabin crew have already been relocated to Belgium. There are still 18 Belgian pilots, who might follow suit. The other employees have essentially a German contract.
Management also disclosed the following information with regard to Brussels Airlines:
- Brussels Airlines is and will remain the Africa competence centre of the Lufthansa Group, with Brussels-based staff
- Brussels Airlines bookings are now handled by the Lufthansa systems and servers. It is one of the many savings that have been implemented in the Reboot Plus plan.
- Brussels Airlines aims at break-even in 2022 and 8 percent EBIT in 2024, which will enable the airline to repay the Belgian State loan of 290 million euros. Until now, 100 million euros of the loan have not yet been used, enough to go through the summer season.
- The new CEO Peter Gerber said that the EU Green Pass and vaccination will enable a rebound of air travel in summer 2021 and calls on the Belgian Government to accelerate vaccination. He hopes that summer 2021 will see twice as many flights as summer 2020, with Africa at 70% of the normal schedule and a restart of North America (daily to New York and Washington, and 4 times weekly to Montreal as from mid-June)
- Ten aircraft have been retired (8 A319s and 2 A330-200s), leaving a fleet at 38 planes: 14 A319s and 16 A320s for short- and medium-haul and 8 A330-300s for the long-haul network. The aim is to retire more A319s and to unify the medium-haul fleet with A320s.