Negotiations between representatives of the Belgian Government and the management of both Brussels Airlines and its sole shareholder Lufthansa are close to a conclusion, says Raphaël Meulders in La Libre Belgique.
The Belgian Government considers the aviation sector as strategic and has decided to save Brussels Airlines, not through a nationalisation or a participation in the capital of Lufthansa or Brussels Airlines, but through a bridge loan of 290 million euros, equal to the amount requested by the airline. This loan is conditional on continued activity in Belgium, but not linked to any environmental constraints (as requested by Greenpeace). It should enable Brussels Airlines (which incurs losses of one million euros per day and would virtually be bankrupt by 15 May) to survive the corona crisis.
On its side, Lufthansa considers its Belgian subsidiary and the Brussels hub as important and will also inject money into Brussels Airlines.
However, Brussels Airlines must become leaner: it will reduce its activities by 25 percent and dispose of some 10 aircraft. This will involve the layoff of some of its staff, most of which is temporarily unemployed, in a process untied to seniority.
Lufthansa will also insist on abandoning expensive night stops.
Full article in La Libre Belgique (French): https://www.lalibre.be/economie/entreprises-startup/le-plan-de-l-etat-belge-pour-sauver-brussels-airlines-5ea1ee759978e21833c4df18
Contacted by financial newspaper L’Echo, Finance Minister Alexander De Croo denied that there was already an agreement on the loan of 290 million euros to Brussels Airlines. The same minister already contradicted SN Airholding co-chairman Count Etienne Davignon, who said earlier that the State would save Brussels Airlines, which led to the early replacement of Davignon by Jan Smets at the helm of the company.
The television news channel LN24 adds that Lufthansa is asking for the 290 million euros to consist of a credit of 200 million and a “gift” of 90 million. Belgian negotiators (led by De Croo) refuse to donate money to a German company and ask for a share in Lufthansa in exchange. The disagreement is so sharp that the negotiations have been put on hold.